Researchers are looking into ways to minimize the harmful effects of alcohol consumption. Recently it was discovered that people who drink more than one drink a night are more likely to suffer from several different types of cancers including; esophageal, throat and mouth. In order to combat these deadly side effects of alcohol consumption some experts are considering the value in lowering the alcohol content in beer.
“The idea is that a small reduction in alcohol – such as beer with four percent ethanol content versus six percent – would reduce alcohol intake per drinker even if the same overall amount of beverage is consumed,” explained Jurgen Rehm, director of the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.
In addition to minimizing the risk of developing deadly cancers, the lower alcohol content would also likely decrease the amount of injuries and risky behaviors that an inebriated person can encounter.
Some critics point out that drinkers would notice the lowered alcohol content and consume more to make up for the difference. However, the researchers do not think this would happen. They point out experiments that showed that drinkers actually do not notice the lowered alcohol content. The evidence suggests that alcohol content cannot be determined by taste. This is important because the lowering of alcohol content would appear to not have a negative effect on alcohol companies. In fact, beer companies report their highest sales are from light beer, which an alcohol level of around 4.2%.
If drinkers are either unaware or not noticing of the drop in alcohol content, sales are unlikely to be affected. So, the proposal has the potential to benefit drinkers by keeping them healthier and less likely to commit risky behaviors. It also will allow alcohol manufacturers to continue to maintain profits.
As more research is conducted into the risks of heavy alcohol consumption it is becoming clear that decreased alcohol content for drinkers is important.