The study used data from 694 studies to estimate how common drinking alcohol is worldwide and used 592 studies including 28 million people worldwide to study the health risks associated with alcohol between 1990 to 2016 in 195 countries.
"There is always a lag between the publication of new evidence and the modification and adoption of revised guidelines", said Gakidou, who admitted to being an "occasional drinker" herself.
"Although the health risks associated with alcohol starts off being small with one drink a day, they then rise rapidly as people drink more", Griswold added. It was the top cause for early death and disability among 15- to 49-year-olds, accounting for one in 10 deaths.
A global alcohol league table showed they drink around 30g of alcohol a day - or three standard drinks. These findings however show that alcohol only had a protective effect against heart disease, and that the adverse effects of developing other health problems, particularly cancers, increased with the number of alcoholic drinks consumed each day.
"The problem is that parity in terms of drinking means a lot more harm", he said.
In fact professor Saxena is apparently incorrect in this statement about drinking to excess as yesterday's paper from the Institute of Alcohol Studies and Sheffield Alcohol Research Group - despite its own failings - showed only 25% of the United Kingdom adult population drinks over the government guidelines....
The research, published in the Lancet, states that an average of one in three people, or 2.4 billion people, drink alcohol, including 25% of women and 39% of men. "The solutions are straightforward: Increasing taxation creates income for hard-pressed health ministries, and reducing the exposure of children to alcohol marketing has no downsides".
The combined health risks associated with alcohol outweigh any possible benefits, said the University of Washington's Max Griswold, an author of the analysis, in a statement.
Not surprisingly due to their large populations, China, India and Russian Federation led the world in the total number of alcohol-related deaths in men and women.
The researchers calculated alcohol is linked to 2.8million deaths a year around the world.
An average of two drinks per day, for example, translated into a 7.0 percent hike in disease and injury compared to those who opt for abstinence.
Those deaths include alcohol-related cancers and cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, intentional injury such as violence and self-harm, and traffic accidents, just to name a few. Women's figures are two a day and 10 a week. "These results suggest that alcohol control policies might need to be revised worldwide, refocusing on efforts to lower overall population-level consumption".
"However, it is important to note that many everyday activities, such as driving, carry risks which we deem to be acceptable - studies like this one can help people make more informed choices about which risks they wish to take".
The study found that moderate drinking was, in fact, protective against ischemic heart disease.