Even one drink a day has health risks

The recommended alcohol limit in Italy and Spain is almost 50 per cent higher than in the UK
Health study says Ireland's weekly drinking limit should be 5 pints, not 8.5
Author

15 April, 2018

At age 40 drinking more then 100g of alcohol or 10 standard drinks has been found to lower life expectancy by between six months to five years.

"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".

Drinking more than 12.5 units of alcohol per week (about five pints of average-strength beer or five medium glasses of mid-strength wine) was found to be associated with increased overall risk of death, stroke, heart failure, fatal aortic aneurysm, and coronary heart disease, apart from non-fatal heart attacks.

Dr. Angela Wood of Cambridge University led the research.

To get there, they analyzed 83 studies on alcohol consumption pulled from a variety of worldwide studies spanning nearly 50 years and 19 countries, allowing them to compare the effects on multiple different "subtypes in current drinkers of alcohol".

The study of 600,000 drinkers estimated that having 10 to 15 alcoholic drinks every week could shorten a person's life by between one and two years.

Wood said, "Drinking more may reduce the risk of nonfatal heart attack, but actually, let's balance that against the higher risk of stroke and other fatal cardiovascular diseases and shorter life expectancy". The guidelines recommend women over 21 drink no more than one drink per day, but this rises to two drinks for men. This equates to around six pints of beer or six glasses of wine a week.

"Alcohol consumption is associated with a slightly lower risk of non-fatal heart attacks but this must be balanced against the higher risk associated with other serious - and potentially fatal - cardiovascular diseases". That's because earlier studies found women are hit by the effects of alcohol at lower amounts than men for several reasons, including women weigh less than men on average and blood alcohol concentrations rise faster.

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This research could help countries looking to set or review their drinking guidelines, which vary around the world.

British scientists from Sheffield University, have conducted experiments with different number of shots and find out how much you can drink men and women, without fear for health.

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.

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

They found that the more people drank, the higher their risk of death compared with people who drank less. They also noted that the study was not able to account for people who reduced their alcohol consumption due to health complications.

Of course, Victoria Taylor has a good point, saying that we should consider the guidelines as a limit, not a target!

The upper recommended limit for men in the United States is nearly 25 units of alcohol per week.

The study's likely to be controversial, said Jason Connor and Wayne Hall of the University of Queensland Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research in Australia.


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