In most cases drinking alcohol increases your chances of developing diseases, in one - cardiovascular disease - many doctors think drinking alcohol protects you against cardiovascular disease.
A new study from Oxford University considered research that has been carried out on alcohol and health risks, and looked specifically at 11 diseases that have been linked to alcohol.
The study found that the death rate was lowest when the average consumption was just half a unit of alcohol a day.
That's less than the smallest glass of wine you can buy in a pub - about half a small glass. It's about quarter of a pint of beer. And if that was the average consumption in England there would be 4,600 fewer deaths each year.
– Department of Health spokesman
The Chief Medical Officer is reviewing current alcohol consumption guidelines.
She will review the evidence on alcohol and health risks, including whether advice is needed on the maximum amount of alcohol that can be drunk in one session
The unit of alcohol is a measurement created to be a useful tool to help ordinary drinkers gauge their alcohol intake and avoid levels of drinking that are risky to their health.
Although the Government's recommended drinking guidelines are based on medical recommendations, we need to make sure they are an easy-to-understand way of watching what you drink that's practical for people to apply to their everyday lives.
– Eric Appleby, chief executive of the charity Alcohol Concern
As alcoholic drinks have started to vary in strength we use 'units' to measure alcohol intake but it can be very difficult for people to understand what this means in practical terms.
Although the findings of this study will be valuable for the Department of Health working group currently reviewing the drinking recommendations, the focus of the guidelines must be to gain the maximum acceptance by the drinking public, and to offer a realistic way of reducing the risks associated with drinking.
Researchers behind a new report have calculated that a limit of just half a unit would help slash deaths from liver cirrhosis, cancer and diabetes.
Current guidelines recommend three to found units per day for men, and between two and three units for women. A small 125 glass of wine contains 1.3 units.
Cutting down on alcohol could save thousands of lives in Britain, according to a new report by scientists that recommends a daily intake equivalent of around half a glass of wine.
Cutting average daily alcohol intake would prevent almost 4,600 premature deaths a year in England alone, it is claimed.