Limit Alcohol to Just One Drink a Day, New Study Says

Drinking alcohol linked to lower life expectancy

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

Ten or more drinks per week equated to a reduced life expectancy of one to two years while eighteen drinks per week correlated with four to five years. Any more than that and there's a significant increase in the risk of cardiovascular problems, including stroke, aortic aneurysm, fatal hypertensive disease, and heart failure.

Co-author Edoardo Casiglia of the University of Padua, Italy said, "This study provides clear evidence to support lowering the recommended limits of alcohol consumption in many countries around the world".

A team of worldwide researchers studied the drinking habits of nearly 600,000 current drinkers included in 83 studies across 19 countries where about 50 percent reported drinking more than 100 grams per week and 8.4 percent more than 350 grams per week.

"What this is saying is, if you're really concerned about your longevity, don't have more than a drink a day", said David Jernigan, a Johns Hopkins University alcohol researcher who was not involved in the study.

It's official, everyone: We're drinking too much booze and it's cutting us short of precious life. The guidelines recommend women over 21 drink no more than one drink per day, but this rises to two drinks for men. Early deaths rose when more than 100g per week, which is five to six glasses of wine or pints of beer, was consumed.

Alcohol consumption is also associated with higher risks of several types of cancer, including breast cancer. However, risk of non-fatal heart attacks dipped with more alcohol. Experts say this is because it increases levels of good cholesterol, which can help protect against fatty deposits in blood vessels, reducing your risk of heart and circulatory disease.

The scientists also came to the conclusion that the safe dose of alcohol for men and women is 112 grams of pure alcohol per week. "The experiment showed that there is no benefit even from small doses of alcohol", said the study authors.

"This is a serious wakeup call for many countries", said Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation charity, which helped fund the study, in a statement.

The global team of researchers analyzed almost 600,000 people aged 30-100 from 19 different countries as part of 80 different studies. The CDC says more than 38 million American adults admit to binge-drinking once a week and guzzle an average of eight drinks per spree.

About half the people in the study reported drinking more than 100 grams of alcohol per week, and 8 percent drank more than 350 grams (12 ounces) per week. For men, the recommended maximum is three per day.

Researchers studying alcohol consumption and mortality have advised countries like the USA slash their drinking guidelines.

Several Australian studies were part of this collaboration, contributing to the research and making the findings relevant to Australians.

"We should always remember that alcohol guidelines should act as a limit, not a target".

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