Are you aged over 40 years?
Do you have no underlying health conditions?
Then, a small glass of red wine, or a can or bottle of beer, or a shot of whiskey or other spirits may help reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes.
This has come to light following a new analysis published in The Lancet.
However, according to the same study, young people may face higher health risks from alcohol consumption than older adults.
For males aged 15-39 drinking alcohol does not provide any health benefits.
This age group constitutes the largest segment of the population drinking unsafe amounts of alcohol and are at health risk.
“Our message is simple: young people should not drink, but older people may benefit from drinking small amounts,” said Dr Emmanuela Gakidou, Professor of Health Metrics Sciences at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine.
In general, for individuals aged 40-64 years, safe alcohol consumption levels ranged from about half a standard drink per day (0.527 drinks for males and 0.562 standard drinks per day for females) to almost two standard drinks (1.69 standard drinks per day for males and 1.82 for females).
For individuals over 65 years, the risks of health loss from alcohol consumption were reached after consuming a little more than three standard drinks per day (3.19 drinks for males and 3.51 for females).
The findings also suggest that global alcohol consumption recommendations should be based on age and location.
The new analysis from the Global Burden of Disease estimates that 1.34 billion people consumed harmful amounts of alcohol (1.03 billion males and 0.312 billion females) in 2020.
Young men are at greatest risk of harmful alcohol consumption
Using these estimates, the proportion of the population consuming alcohol in amounts exceeding these thresholds by location, age, sex, and year, was also calculated, serving as a guide for targeting alcohol control efforts.
Among individuals consuming harmful amounts of alcohol in 2020, 59.1% were age 15-39 years, and 76.7% were male, with 1.03 billion males and 0.312 billion females drinking harmful amounts of alcohol. Harmful use of alcohol was particularly concentrated in young males in Australasia, western Europe, and central Europe.
“Although the risks associated with alcohol consumption are similar for males and females, young males stood out as the group with the highest level of harmful alcohol consumption. This is because a larger proportion of males compared to females consume alcohol and their average level of consumption is also significantly higher,” says Dr Gakidou.