The brewing industry has hit out at reports that there is no such things a safe level of alcohol consumption.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has challenged a new study which claims all alcohol consumption is bad for you.

The global study, published in the Lancet which claims to be the most comprehensive of its kind, pours cold water on previous reports that espouse the protective effects of alcohol under some conditions.

While researchers at  the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle acknowledged that moderate drinking can protect against heart disease and diabetes, they said that the risks of cancer and other illnesses outweigh those benefits and have called for a change in medical guidance.

THE BBPA rejected the notion that the widely held view of the health benefits of alcohol needs revising and the safest level of drinking is none.

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “Whilst many choices in life carry potential risks and benefits, there are many scientific studies that support the view that moderate alcohol consumption can form part of a healthy lifestyle.

“UK brewers have a long-standing record of promoting responsible drinking and enabling consumers to make informed decisions.

“We believe that for adults of legal drinking age who choose to drink, moderate alcohol consumption can be part of a well-balanced lifestyle and beer, which is typically the lowest strength form of alcohol, is a great way to enjoy responsible drinking and support your local pub.

“As ever, those with questions about their own alcohol consumption are encouraged to consult a health professional.”

David Spiegelhalter, Winton professor for the public understanding of risk at the University of Cambridge, argued against refraining from alcohol.

He said: “But claiming there is no safe level does not seem an argument for abstention. There is no safe level of driving, but government do not recommend that people avoid driving.

“Come to think of it, there is no safe level of living, but nobody would recommend abstention.

“Presumably people who choose to drink alcohol moderately get some pleasure from it, and any risk needs to be traded off against this enjoyment.”

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