British women now among top drinkers in the world

He said: "The latest ONS data shows that alcohol consumption in the United Kingdom has fallen 19% over the last decade and people are less likely to binge drink than they were 10 years ago".

Contrary to what some previous studies have found, "the kind of person who drinks every week, but never drinks much, is in fact not better off than somebody who doesn't drink", according to the new study, Humphreys told Live Science.

Drinking patterns varied greatly around the world, the study found.

The researchers proposed that alcoholic drinks be made less affordable and appealing by increasing taxes on them and regulating their price, the marketing of drinks and where alcohol can be sold. They were responsible for 27.1 per cent of alcohol-related deaths of women and 18.9 per cent of men.

For the first time, Gakidou said, in an attempt to improve on previous research, the new analysis adjusted for the impact of tourism on local statistics in liquor sales and attempted to control for unrecorded drinking, such as home brewing or illicit trade.

The report did acknowledge that there was a body of evidence to show that moderate drinking did offer protection against certain diseases, especially cardiovascular ones, but ultimately concluded that the risks of cancers and other illnesses outweighed these benefits.

According to the study, drinking was the seventh leading risk factor for premature death and disease in 2016, accounting for around 2 percent of deaths in women and almost 7 percent in men. Romanian men drink the most on average - 8.2 drinks a day - and Pakistani men the least, just 0.0007 drinks a day; Ukrainian women have the highest average daily consumption - 4.2 drinks - and Iranian women the lowest, at 0.0003 drinks per day.

Currently, New Zealand's Ministry of Health guidelines recommend that men drink no more than three standard units a day and no more than 15 standard units a week.

So 25,000 people drinking 16 bottles of gin a year each (that's 400,000 bottles of gin) would be associated with just one additional health problem to the base rate.

The risk of developing alcohol-related health problems increased to 7 per cent in people who drank two drinks a day for one year and 37 per cent in people who drank five drinks a day for one year.

While that conclusion may seem stark to people who have come to feel virtuous about their nightly glass of wine, Mozaffarian says it's actually not so different from current medical advice.

You may think that drinking one or two alcoholic beverages per day isn't so bad.

Alcohol use was ranked as the seventh leading risk factor for premature death and disability worldwide in 2016, and was the leading cause for people aged 15-49 years old.

"There is no safe level of driving, but the government does not recommend that people avoid driving".

"People are probably drinking more than they realise, and it's harming our health", he said, referencing research that shows we're awful at estimating our alcoholic beverage count.

One of the major problems with these studies, Griswold explains, is that many failed to account for subtle biases in who they were exactly studying.

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