But researchers from the new study said those studies had limitations.
The study, published Thursday in the journal Lancet, is one of the most comprehensive looks at the global burden of disease stemming from alcohol, with data on 28 million people from across 195 countries over a period of a quarter of a century. The authors also used updated and more robust statistical review models to analyze alcohol consumption and the health problems associated with it.
The researchers said that, based on their results, public health campaigns should consider recommending abstinence from alcohol.
The findings add robust support to a number of studies that highlight the drawbacks of alcohol consumption despite that other, modest research found an association between light to moderate drinking and extended life.
"Although the health risks associated with alcohol starts off being small with one drink a day, they then rise rapidly as people drink more", lead author Dr Max Griswold, from the University of Washington, commented.
A standard alcohol drink was defined as one containing 10 grams of alcohol.
"However, studies have shown that India has a large number of heavy drinkers - more than 75 ml/day or nearly every day of the week". That number is equivalent to 2.2% of all female deaths and 6.8% of all male deaths that year, according to the study. For people over 50, cancers were a leading cause of alcohol-related death.
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Washington D.C. [USA]: In a shocking revelation, a recent study has found that alcohol is associated with almost one in 10 deaths in people aged 15-49 years old.
Any protection against heart disease, stroke and diabetes offered by alcohol turned out to be "not statistically significant", said the researchers. "There are risks and benefits, and I think it's important to have the best information about all of those and come to some personal decisions, and engage one's health care provider in that process as well".
The top 10 heaviest-drinking countries are all in Europe, with Romania leading the pack at an average 8.2 daily drinks among all men, and an astounding 12 drinks per day among men ages 45 to 59.
Looking at the rise when two drinks a day were consumed (which is just over the 14 units a week United Kingdom guidelines), he calculated that 1,600 people would have to drink 20g of alcohol a day so 32 bottles of gin each over the course of a year or 50,000 bottles in total, to once again realise one extra health problem.
The 0.5 per cent increase in risk meant that 918 people per 100,000 who consumed one alcoholic drink a day would develop a health problem compared with 914 who did not drink.
Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, agreed, saying in a statement, "While there may be a slight benefit to heart and circulatory health from modest drinking, many studies have shown that the overall health risks of drinking alcohol outweigh any benefits". "The myth that one or two drinks a day are good for you is just that - a myth".
He writes that to understand the 0.5% increase in risk from drinking one drink a day, 25,000 people would need to drink 10g of alcohol a day (10g being the amount recognised as a single drink in the report) for a year, that's 3,650g of alcohol each.