Nobody wants to hear it.

"There is no risk-free level of alcohol consumption," says Dr. Rehm. "There is always some risk, and the risk increases in accordance with the level of consumption."

Having said that, Dr. Rehm believes that it would be helpful to have low-risk drinking guidelines, written for the public, so that people who are going to drink anyway would know how much alcohol would increase their risk substantially. Such guidelines should recognize lower drinking limits for women and advise against episodes of heavy drinking.

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