How much alcohol is safe? It depends on who you ask.

According to some scientists, alcohol may be very dangerous to one’s long-term health. One study tracked the drinking habits of almost 600,000 people in nineteen countries. It found that people who drank ten to eighteen pints of beer or glasses of beer a week had life expectancies that were one to two years lower than people who did not drink that amount. It also found that people who drank 100 grams or alcohol a week experienced increases in all causes of death.

Findings in the same study also illustrate contradictory information about alcohol, since they indicate that moderate alcohol consumption may also reduce the risk of nonfatal heart attacks. Similarly, other findings indicate that “[m]oderate drinking seems to be good for the heart and circulatory system, and probably protects against type 2 diabetes and gallstones,” according to Harvard University’s T. H. Chan School of Public Health.

Researchers in such studies claim that moderate alcohol consumption may provide the most benefits from alcohol and prevent the fewest negative repercussions. That is, if moderation is possible.

Moderation is not possible for some people. Some groups advise against it. Other people swear that moderation is a successful lifestyle choice.

Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) say that moderate drinking is not an option for people with alcohol addictions. Any amount of alcohol is a departure from sobriety, especially for people who cannot have just one drink.

On the other hand, some harm-reduction groups say that controlled consumption of alcohol and drugs may prevent other people from experiencing withdrawal and cravings. Such cravings may lead them to binge drink and misuse substances, so harm-reduction proponents say that the benefits of controlled drinking are well worth the risks.

The different approaches work for different people, so one is not inherently better than the other. Alcohol does different things to different people, so it makes sense that people also consume it in different ways.