Many people like a drink, but everyone knows that drinking too much can be harmful to their health.
But there are also many studies showing that moderate levels of alcohol could have some health benefits.
So are there really any benefits?
And how much is too much?
Does Alcohol Have Health Benefits?
Many studies have come out over the years that show a moderate amount of alcohol can have some health benefits. Everyday Health reports on some of these, including lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.
And according to this information at the Mayo Clinic website, it might reduce the risk of suffering an ischemic stroke, and possibly reduce diabetes risk.
But whether drinking alcohol can ever by beneficial for your health is disputed. And in fact, at the start of 2016, the official guidance on drinking alcohol in the UK was changed.
Now the UK Says No Level of Alcohol Is Safe
Until the start of 2016, the recommended safe level of alcohol for men per week was 21 units in the UK. But this was reduced to 14 units in January, the same level as for women.
These are the first revised guidelines for two decades. Chief medical officers also claimed that drinking any level of alcohol increases the risk of cancer, and especially breast cancer, and that there is no safe level of drinking.
By sticking to 14 units or less, the risk of liver disease and cancer is lowered, according to Dame Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer. The guidance also advised against binge drinking, instead recommending spreading the alcohol out over the week, and also recommending taking some days each week with no alcohol.
It has also updated advice to pregnant women, saying to drink no alcohol at all.
Too Much Alcohol Certainly Has Its Risks
As well as the long-term risks of drinking too much, alcohol can also present more immediate health risks.
Drinking too much in one go can increase the risk of having an accident, and alcohol can also make claiming compensation more difficult. Even if you have an accident and it was not your fault, the fact that you have been drinking could complicate matters when you hire personal injury lawyers to help you with your case.
Men Are Still Drinking Too Much
Despite the new advice, it seems that men especially are still drinking too much. It was recently reported that 3.5 million men drink over 14 units a week, according to research from the charity Drinkaware, leading experts to call for warnings to be placed on alcohol. There are claims that men are simply unaware of the danger to their health.
So What Is the Safe Amount?
It is very difficult to say whether there are any real health benefits of drinking alcohol. For now, it seems like the safest bet is to follow the official guidelines by drinking no more than 14 units a week and spreading it out over the week rather than drinking it all in one go.
About the Author
Erin Atkins is at medical school and plans to become a GP in the not too distant future. When time allows she enjoys sharing her knowledge by writing on health/medical topics.
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