Drinking more alcohol linked to lower life expectancy

Brandon Parsons
April 15, 2018

Previous studies have suggested that drinking red wine can be good for our hearts, although some scientists have suggested these benefits may be overhyped.

David Jernigan, an alcohol researcher at Johns Hopkins University, told the Associated Press, "if you're really concerned about your longevity, don't have more than one drink a day".

Even the most casual drinkers among us, including those following USA government recommendations, can see months and years taken away by steadily hitting the hooch, according to a new study by an global team of researchers.

The risk starts rising with as little as one drink a day on average.

Regularly drinking above the United Kingdom alcohol guidelines can take years off your life, according to a major report.

The bottom line: "Any supposed benefits in health should be balanced against that shortened life expectancy", Wood said. Most of the coverage was accurate, although the i chose to focus on the fact that Italy, Portugal and Spain have recommended alcohol limits which are higher than the United Kingdom and describing the UK's as some of the "strictest in the world" - although it did go on to point out that the research supports these lower guidelines. Spain and Romania set the upper limit for men at the equivalent of 20 drinks each week, for example.

They found that the more people drank, the higher their risk of death compared with people who drank less. The new study also excluded people with existing heart disease.

Tim Chico, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Sheffield, reckons the study is proof that drinking lots and getting away with it is "too good to be true".

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Heart Association both say men can safely drink up to two alcoholic drinks a day and women up to a drink a day. Beyond that, between 200g and 350g a week, they can expect to lose one to two years of life. But the study found a striking linear relationship between alcohol intake and dying from any cause.

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.

The researchers used a big dataset of life expectancy models to calculate how the relative risks of drinking different amounts of alcohol would affect the life expectancy of people aged 40.

Anything more than six glasses is associated with a higher risk of stroke, coronary disease, heart failure and hypertension, according to the study. And it raises further questions about why the federal government is now recruiting subjects for a clinical trial, financed by the alcohol industry, to try to prove that alcohol prevents heart disease.

"The data make it even clearer that the alcohol industry is promoting a misleading view that alcohol use is benign", he says.

The study was carried out by researchers at the University of Cambridge and was published in The Lancet journal. This means we have to be cautious when saying alcohol was the direct cause of the additional deaths, because other confounding factors may have affected the results.

About half of the people in the study reported drinking more than 12.5 units of alcohol a week.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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