Drinking too much can take years off of your life

The new study estimates that 40-year-old men who drink as much as the current US guidelines allow can expect to live one to two years less than men who have no more than seven drinks per week.

"Although non-fatal heart attacks are less likely in people who drink, this benefit is swamped by the increased risk of other forms of heart disease including fatal heart attacks and stroke", said Tim Chico, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Sheffield, who was not involved in the research, in comments reported by the BBC.

A sweeping global study of alcohol consumption has found no overall health benefits from moderate drinking and calls into question the United States guidelines that say men can safely drink twice as much as women.

Angela Wood, who is the lead author of the study and senior lecturer at the University of Cambridge told The Washington Post, "When the US reviews their guidelines, I will hope they would use this as evidence to consider lowering the guidelines for men probably in line with female guidelines".

The study, which was on Friday, was based on the health data of almost 600 thousand alcohol drinkers from 19 countries.

According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, a standard drink in the U.S. is a 12 fl oz. can of regular (5 percent alcohol) beer, a 5 fl oz. glass of 12 percent wine or a 1.5 fl oz. shot of a 40 percent distilled spirit like vodka or whiskey.

A large new study has suggested that you are more at risk of dying or of a range of heart and circulatory conditions if you have as little as one alcoholic drink a day. The participants had to be current drinkers and were followed up for at least one year (most participants were followed up for between 5 and 18 years).

While the US government now recommends no more than seven drinks a week for women, the recommendation for men is 14 drinks. The Australian guidelines suggest a full-strength can or stubby of 375 millilitres of beer or a restaurant serving of 150 millilitres of white wine is 1.4 standard drinks. Alcohol drinking is linked to strokes, heart failure, and fatal aneurysm.

Very light drinking seemed to have a small protective effect against non-fatal heart attacks.

Estimated future years of life lost by extent of reported baseline alcohol consumption compared with those who reported consuming 0-≤100 g per week.

Warren said there are studies that show the benefits of limited red wine.

The study was funded by the UK Medical Research Council, British Heart Foundation, National Institute for Health Research, European Union Framework 7, and European Research Council.

"I think this is perhaps a good warning that even what they may consider to be moderate - which might be a couple of drinks a day, every day of their lives - may be too much", Blazer said.

Researchers looked at 83 studies involving 600,000 people from 19 high-income countries, with nearly half of data coming from the UK.

The recommended limits in Italy, Portugal, and Spain are nearly 50% higher than this.

The study was published this week in The Lancet.

  • Santos West