New policy brief questions the safety of alcohol

Over half of the full-time university students in the United States reported that they drank alcohol within the last month, with nearly 40% reporting that they engaged in binge drinking

But a new policy released by the World Heart Federation in January reported that no amount of alcohol is safe for consumption. 

According to the policy, adults with no underlying health conditions and who do not drink alcohol should not start. Those who do drink are recommended to greatly reduce their consumption for overall health.

Dr. Susan Woods, Assistant Professor of Nutrition at the University of Central Oklahoma, said “It’s not a nescessary part of our diet and it won’t improve anything… it’s certainly not something that we should be adding”.

Alcohol was classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer a decade ago. According to the policy from WFH, it increases the risk of cardiovascular problems, including coronary disease, heart failure, high blood pressure, stroke, aortic aneurysm, and breast cancer.

“Contrary to popular opinion, alcohol is not good for the heart,” the report says.

The World Heart Federation reported in January that no amount of alcoholic bevergaes is safe for consumption and drinking may increase your risk for health problems. Photo by Brett Sayles.

Critics Disagree

The policy met swift criticism. A study published in the Lancet in 2018 was extensively used in the WHF brief but, “seriously misrepresents, and selectively reports, their findings,” said David Spiegelhalter, the Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge.

So, according to the experts, what should you do if you already drink alcohol?

“Can we drink a little bit and not have negative effects? I think probably so,” Woods said.

The maximum medical reccomendation is one drink per day, according to Woods.

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