DailyMail.com revealed this week how the Biden administration was considering slashing alcohol guidelines to just two drinks per week.

Dr George Koob, America’s alcohol czar, said that evidence had increasingly indicated no amount of alcohol was good for human health.

Yet every year, studies hint that when consumed in moderation, there may be mild benefits to drinking alcohol.

The theories range from booze acting as a way to de-stress to health benefits gained from consuming the antioxidants in wine, but none of these have ever been proven definitively. 

We put the question of whether any amount of alcohol can be beneficial to six experts — and the answers show how even leaders in their field have mixed opinions. 

Dr Dan Malleck, from Brock University in Canada, said people should not be scared off of drinking alcohol

Dr Dan Malleck, from Brock University in Canada, said people should not be scared off of drinking alcohol

Dr Dan Malleck, from Brock University in Canada, said people should not be scared off of drinking alcohol

Dr Dan Malleck, chair of the Department of Health Sciences at Brock University, Canada: ‘Don’t be afraid of alcohol’

Recommendation: Drink in moderation

A Canadian alcohol expert urged people not to be afraid of drinking alcohol as long as they do it responsibly, saying most experts overlook the social benefits.

Dr Dan Malleck, a health expert at Brock University, said drinking acts ‘almost like a conduit for socialization’.

He said: ‘On top of that, if you have a drink or two you are more relaxed and this opens up the chance for new ideas. 

‘There are many people who have come up with innovations over drinks’, he added

When someone drinks alcohol it prompts the release of dopamine in the brain — triggering feel-good emotions — and helps to suppress the nervous system — leading to relaxation.

Dr Malleck has been an outspoken critic of guidance to drink less alcohol, describing it as ‘worse than useless’ and accusing studies of failing to take into account the social benefits of drinking.

He said current recommendations on safe limits were inaccurate because they are based on studies where people self-reported alcohol consumption, whereas surveys show people are unlikely to accurately report consumption.

On efforts to encourage people to stop drinking altogether, he said: ‘My response is that they are encouraging less healthy behavior than the data shows and the vast weight of evidence supports. 

‘If they want to encourage people to stop drinking, they are encouraging people to engage in less healthy behavior than those who drink moderately.’

Asked how often someone should drink alcohol in a week, Dr Malleck said he does not believe in sticking to a ‘number’, saying people should be their own guide. If someone is getting drunk several times a week, however, he suggested they were likely going too far. 

He has up to seven or eight bottles of beer a week, but there are many weeks he doesn’t drink at all. He will sometimes also enjoy a glass or two of whiskey at home.

Dr George Koob, US alcohol czar: We may head toward two drinks per week

Dr George Koob, Biden's alcohol czar, said there were 'no benefits' to drinking alcohol

Dr George Koob, Biden's alcohol czar, said there were 'no benefits' to drinking alcohol

Dr George Koob, Biden’s alcohol czar, said there were ‘no benefits’ to drinking alcohol

Recommendation: No more than two drinks a day for men and one a day for women

Biden’s alcohol czar urged Americans to stick to the current guidelines of no more than two drinks a week for men and one drink a week for women.

But he also warned they were updating these guidelines and may push the recommendation downward to match Canada — where authorities tell people to have just two drinks per week.

Dr George Koob, who directs the National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), told DailyMail.com there were ‘no benefits’ to drinking.

‘Most of the benefits people attribute to alcohol, we feel they really have more to do with what someone’s eating rather than what they’re drinking’, he said.

‘So it really has to do with the Mediterranean diet, socio-economic status, that makes you able to afford that kind of diet and make your own fresh food and so forth.

‘With this in mind, most of the benefits [of alcohol] kind of disappear on the health side’.

The alcohol guidelines are currently under review, with Dr Koob saying they could be revised down should data come out of Canada showing their guidance has had a benefit.

Asked how often he drinks, Dr Koob said he enjoys two glasses of white wine per week, usually a ‘buttery Californian Chardonnay’.

Dr Carina Ferreira-Borges, from the World Health Organization, said no level of alcohol was safe

Dr Carina Ferreira-Borges, from the World Health Organization, said no level of alcohol was safe

Dr Carina Ferreira-Borges, from the World Health Organization, said no level of alcohol was safe

Dr Carina Ferreira-Borges, World Health Organization: ‘The more you drink, the more harmful it is’

Recommendation: No level is safe

The World Health Organization warns consuming any amount of alcohol damages your health.

Dr Carina Ferreira-Borges, WHO’s regional advisor for alcohol and illicit drugs in Europe, said earlier this year: ‘We cannot talk about a so-called safe level of alcohol use.

‘It doesn’t matter how much you drink — the risk to the drinker’s health starts from the first drop of any alcoholic beverage. 

‘The only thing that we can say for sure is that the more you drink, the more harmful it is — or, in other words, the less you drink, the safer it is.’

A WHO spokesman told DailyMail.com drinking less was ‘better’.

‘Drinking less is better for your health and reduces your risk of harming yourself and others,’ the spokesman said. ‘Individuals who drink alcohol may wish to discuss their alcohol consumption with a healthcare professional’.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer — the WHO’s cancer research arm — has considered alcohol to be a group one cancer-causing substance for decades — presenting the same risk as asbestos, radiation and tobacco.

This means the agency considers there to be enough evidence to assert alcohol can cause cancer in humans.

The WHO has said alcohol could be behind at least seven types of cancer, including bowel and breast cancer. 

Dr Ferreira-Borges and the WHO spokesman would not reveal what they drank or how much they have. 

Dr Farhad Islami, from the American Cancer Society, also warned it was not safe to drink alcohol in terms of cancer risk

Dr Farhad Islami, from the American Cancer Society, also warned it was not safe to drink alcohol in terms of cancer risk

Dr Farhad Islami, from the American Cancer Society, also warned it was not safe to drink alcohol in terms of cancer risk

Dr Farhad Islami, American Cancer Society: ‘There is no safe level in regards to cancer risk’

Recommendation: No safe level

Dr Farhad Islami, a prominent researcher in the alcohol space, said there was ‘no safe level’ of alcohol consumption.

Dr Islami, who has written several papers on cancer and alcohol, said: ‘I would say there is no safe level of alcohol consumption with regards to the risk of cancer. 

‘I would say it is best not to drink alcohol, but if someone chooses to drink alcohol, it is best to limit it to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men. 

Dr Islami, who did not reveal how much alcohol he consumes, agreed with WHO’s conclusion that alcohol is associated with seven types of cancer. 

‘Even with one drink per day, there is an association. That risk is not as big, but we see with an increase in the amount of alcohol consumed the risk increases substantially.’

A 2018 study, referenced by Dr Islami, showed about 5.6 percent of all cancers could be linked to alcohol, behind smoking — 19 percent — and excess bodyweight — 7.8 percent.

The biggest link was drawn for rarer cancers such as of the oral cavity and pharynx — 40 percent or 18,000 cases per year. 

But scientists also said there was a link to more common cancers, such as breast cancer, linking approximately 16 percent of cases per year.

Cancers also linked to alcohol included colorectal, liver and those of the larynx and esophagus.

Kim Pearson, nutritionist: ‘We need to socialize without alcohol’

Recommendation: Stick to Government guidelines

Kim Pearson, a nutritionist based in the UK, said no level of alcohol was safe

Kim Pearson, a nutritionist based in the UK, said no level of alcohol was safe

Kim Pearson, a nutritionist based in the UK, said no level of alcohol was safe

Tearing up the purported benefits of alcohol, UK-based nutritionist Kim Pearson said people need to find a way to spend time together without alcohol.

She told this website: ‘It is very beneficial for humans to socialize, but to socialize and not drink the amount we do because most people drink far too much.

‘We really need to learn how to socialize without alcohol’.

She warned — in line with the World Health Organization — there was ‘really no safe limit’ for alcohol consumption.

‘Of conditions strongly linked to alcohol, if you have got someone drinking a lot, things like fatty liver disease is a common one,’ she said.

‘It has also been quite strongly linked to cancer, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke and digestive issues’.

She also warned alcohol could harm someone’s mental health because of its depressant effects. Drink does initially cause a spike in dopamine, prompting happiness feelings, but this can then drop off later triggering feelings of sadness.

Ms Pearson herself has previously eliminated alcohol from her diet altogether— having gone long periods without the intoxicant in the past. 

When she does drink, however, she said she has one or two glasses of wine a week with a meal or with friends. She varies between red, white and rose but her favorite are wines from Seven Springs Vineyards in South Africa.

Asked how much someone should have per day, she did point to Government guidelines — which suggest no more than seven drinks per week. 

Dr Peter Attia: ‘Enjoy it, but don’t think it’s healthy’

Dr Peter Attia, a longevity expert, stressed it was important not to sideline the benefits of drinking

Dr Peter Attia, a longevity expert, stressed it was important not to sideline the benefits of drinking

Dr Peter Attia, a longevity expert, stressed it was important not to sideline the benefits of drinking

Recommendation: Six drinks a week, no more than two a day

Renowned longevity expert Dr Peter Attia said people should enjoy alcohol, but shouldn’t be ‘deluded’ enough to think it is healthy.

Speaking to the Tim Ferriss show earlier this year, he said: ‘I love tequila, I love mezcal, I love really good wine and I love dark Belgian beer — but I’m not deluded enough to think any of those are healthy’.

Dr Attia said he generally does not have more than two drinks a day or drink more than three days a week.

But he did explain how these rules were not set in stone and could be altered on a case by case basis.

‘I previously posted on Instagram the most rancid night of sleep I’ve ever had,’ he said.

‘And the reason was that we had friends over and it was very late, we drank, we ate, and by the time at like 10.30pm I went to bed and we had just finished eating sort of thing and not surprisingly my sleep sucked.’

‘But the point I made in the post was that I would do it again, it was a fantastic night. My friends, the four of us, had not had dinner together in a long time.’

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

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