But the study also showed that who is a light drinker tends to have lowest risk of developing cancer or dying at a young age.
The study also tried to account for the fact there are other risk factors in people's lives, such as smoking and their diet, so they could determine as accurately as possible whether any differences in mortality were due to varying levels of alcohol intake specifically. We wanted to see what the risk of getting either of these conditions (cancer or mortality) were to give a more comprehensive and less confusing message about the health effects of light-moderate drinking.
It also suggests people shouldn't seek health benefits by having that second glass of wine each night, said lead researcher Andrew Kunzmann, of Queens University Belfast, in Northern Ireland.
This finding suggests, according to the authors, some protective effect of light alcohol consumption, particularly against the cardiovascular diseases.
Response: We think that the research is becoming increasingly consistent as to the health impacts of light drinking and as to what "drinking in moderation" is.
He also explains that "light drinkers tend to be more wealthy or lead healthier lifestyles in a number of ways than never drinkers".
"This study provides further insight into the complex relationship between alcohol consumption, cancer incidence, and disease mortality and may help inform public health guidelines", commented Dr. Kunzmann.
The new study included data on 99,654 adults in the United States, who were 55 to 74 years old. The data, collected between 1993 and 2001, came from the US Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. The results hopefully reassure light drinkers that they're not increasing their risk of major health outcomes.
The risk soars 20 per cent for very heavy drinkers who put away over three drinks a day.
Increasing daily doses of alcohol significantly increases the chances of developing cancer.
Very heavy drinkers (three or more drinks each day) had the highest risk of dying early or developing cancer at 21 per cent.
"Equally problematic was that they classified men and women the same in relation to categories of alcohol use". But experts said it does suggest that if people already drink, they would be wise to minimize it.
"The study strengths included the large sample size, including both women and men, and a lifetime history of alcohol use", she said.
Thus, the group who consumed between two and three drinks per day and even more than three drinks per day recorded more deaths during the period studied, in comparison to light drinkers (1-3 drinks per week) and those who consumed one alcoholic beverage per week (infrequent drinkers).
Response: We made a decision to conduct this research because the messages about the health effects linked to light-moderate drinking are less consistent.
However, light moderate drinkers (five to seven drinks each week) and moderate drinkers (one to two drinks each day) faced slightly higher odds.
Over nine years, nearly 10 percent of the study participants died, while almost 13 percent developed cancer, the findings showed.
For now, Stockwell said, there is no scientific consensus on what a "low-risk" level of drinking might be.
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Poisonous giant Hogweed spotted in Virginia
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Catholic priest slaps baby during Christening
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