Here’s good news for those of you who like an occasional tipple – or even those who drink regularly.
The recent paper in the Lancet suggested any amount of alcohol is bad for you.
Before that I had always comforted myself, as I sipped my V&T, with the old dogma that a little bit of alcohol is actually good for you – acts as a solvent on all that cholesterol or something.
But the Lancet paper put everyone in a tizzy, and lead to headlines like “there’s no safe amount of alcohol.”
I was very comforted to hear Aaron E. Carroll, M.D. professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine and research mentor, talking about this on NPR's People’s Pharmacy, and writing about it for New York Times blog Upshot, bringing a little sanity to the issue by looking at the absolute risks – a common sense step that puts these things in perspective, rather than looking at relative risk.
He points out “for each set of 100,000 people who have one drink a day per year, 918 can expect to experience one of the 23 alcohol-related problems in any year. Of those who drink nothing, 914 can expect to experience a problem. This means that 99,082 are unaffected, and 914 will have an issue no matter what. Only 4 in 100,000 people who consume a drink a day may have a problem caused by the drinking, according to this study.
At two drinks per day, the number experiencing a problem increased to 977. Even at five drinks per day, which most agree is too much, the vast majority of people are unaffected.”