Even one drink a day has health risks

Even one drink a day has health risks

In numerous individual studies included in the meta-analysis, the participants were asked only once about how much alcohol they drank - and people are notoriously bad at accurately reporting their drinking.

Recommended limits for safe alcohol consumption are too high in many developed countries and should be lowered to save lives, a study suggested Friday.

"Overall, for a 40-year-old man, the estimated reduction in life expectancy is almost five years for alcohol consumption of more than 350g per week, for a 40-year-old woman it is around four years, compared to consumption of less than 100g per week".

"The paper estimates a 40-year-old drinking four units a day above the guidelines [the equivalent of drinking three glasses of wine in a night] has roughly two years' lower life expectancy, which is around a 20th of their remaining life".

The US government now recommends no more than seven drinks a week for women, but twice that amount for men.

About half of the people included in the study said they had more than 100 grams of alcohol per week.

Just think how easy it is to sink six pints of nice, cold lager on a hot summer's day, or to work your way through a few glasses of wine after a long day.

"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.

The study uses self-reported alcohol consumption across 19 high-income countries.

The recommended limit in the United Kingdom is 14 units a week.




In the United States, the government says people who don't already drink shouldn't start.

The study was published this week in The Lancet.

"Nationally, consumption has been in decline for the last decade and most importantly harmful drinking and binge drinking are also in decline".

This news isn't gonna go down well: A group of researchers has studied the drinking habits of 600,000 people to determine, once and for all, the "risk thresholds associated with the lowest risk of mortality".

The study suggests that the risk of premature death rose quickly when more than 100g of alcohol was consumed per week - that's five to six glasses of wine or pints of beer.

A spokesman for industry body the Alcohol Information Partnership said: "This report confirms our view that moderate drinking does not pose a risk to most people".

No surprise, but the report finds that exceeding 100 grams increases your likelihood of a variety of awful things - stroke, aneurysm, heart failure, etc. The highest level of drinking in the study - more than 350 grams per week - was linked with a 4- to 5-year reduction in life expectancy.

In contrast, drinking more was associated with a lower risk of non-fatal heart attacks.

The study doesn't take into account the possibility of accompanying mental disorders, such as dementia, which could explain why people reduced their alcohol consumption over the follow-up period. A standard drink in Germany contains between 10 and 12 grams of alcohol.

However, "this must be balanced against the higher risk associated with other serious - and potentially fatal-cardiovascular diseases", said lead author Angela Wood from the University of Cambridge in Britain.

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