Just one alcoholic drink a day could shorten your life, study says

Just one alcoholic drink a day could shorten your life, study says

Current alcohol consumption guidelines vary around the world - in Australia, no more than 140 grams per week (14 standard drinks) is the current recommended limit.

The limit for women is 11 standard drinks (110 grams of pure alcohol) - also with at least two to three alcohol-free days.

But alcohol consumption, even at that allegedly moderate level, also is associated with a suite of cardiovascular problems, including stroke, aortic aneurysm, fatal hypertensive disease and heart failure.

Updated advice from the UK's chief medical officer said it is safest for men and women not to drink more than 14 units a week - equal to six pints of beer or six glasses of wine.

The study found that drinking between 100-200 grams of alcohol could decrease one's life expectancy by six months, 200-350 grams by two years and more than 350 grams by four years.

United Kingdom guidelines were changed in 2016 to 14 units every week for men and women, lower than the limits in Italy, Portugal and Spain. There's variation from country to country as to how many grams of alcohol are generally found in a standard drink. About 50% of the participants admitted to drinking more than 100 grams per week.

Professor Bu Yeap, a co-author from the School of Medicine at the University of Western Australia, says the study is important as it analyses data from almost 600,000 people from all over the world.

"This study has shown that drinking alcohol at levels which were believed to be safe is actually linked with lower life expectancy and several adverse health outcomes", says Blazer.

The more people drank, the higher the risk of a range of life threatening illnesses, including stroke and heart failure.


"This study makes clear that on balance there are no health benefits from drinking alcohol, which is usually the case when things sound too good to be true", Tim Chico, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Sheffield, who was not involved in the research said.

"Nonetheless, the findings ought to be widely disseminated and they should provoke informed public and professional debate".

"What it shows is that the amount of alcohol consumed affects the risk of dying", says Yeap.

Having as little as one alcoholic drink a day could shorten your life, according to a major new study.

On average, each unit of alcohol that exceeds the 100-gram limit slices off 15 minutes of a person's life - about the same as a cigarette, said David Spiegelhalter, a professor at the University of Cambridge, in a comment on the report.

The global study, published in the Lancet journal, also found drinking more alcohol gave a greater risk of suffering a stroke, heart failure, and fatal aneurysm.

By contrast, alcohol consumption was associated with a slightly lower risk of non-fatal heart attacks.

"Evidence reviews on the health effects of alcohol consumption are now underway, which will help inform the recommendations in the revised guidelines", a spokesman says.

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