Monday, 23 April, 2018

Drinking too much can take years off of your life

Study reveals sobering news on how much you should be drinking Modal Trigger Shutterstock
Jordan Brady | 15 April, 2018, 01:30

An analysis of over half a million drinkers suggests alcohol consumption should be limited to below 100g per week.

In Canada, the recommended limit for alcohol consumption is no more than 10 drinks per week for women, and no more than 15 per week for men. Until now it was unclear whether moderate drinking is bad for the health.

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.

It concluded that alcohol consumption limits should be lower than most official guidelines around the world. One hundred grams of alcohol translates into about five to six glasses of wine weekly, which is almost double the United States government's recommended limits on alcohol for men.

Drinking even moderate amounts of alcohol will shave years off your life, according to an extensive worldwide study that shows Australian guidelines are far too lax. The decision was hotly debated and criticized at the time, but the new study supports the maximum of 14 units a week for both men and women set out by England's chief medical officer.

A new research conducted by the University of Cambridge, partly funded by the British Heart Foundation reveals that regular drinking of alcohol could shorten our life.

"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.

David Spiegelhalter, a risk expert at Britain's University of Cambridge, said, "The paper estimates a 40-year-old drinking four units a day above the guidelines has roughly two years lower life expectancy". "Nonetheless, the findings ought to be widely disseminated and they should provoke informed public and professional debate".

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Nutrition professor Jaap Seidell is pleased with the new study, he said to the Volkskrant.

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

The researchers found that regularly drinking over this was linked to lower life expectancy. While the study did suggest 12.5 units is the threshold above which risks start to rise, the difference in risk between people drinking 12.5 and 14 units was small.

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

The study included data from 599,912 current drinkers and had access to their age, sex smoking status and other factors related to heart disease.

The study may mean many Americans are reaching their weekly totals in one night.

The researchers point out that there is no thresholds below which lower alcohol consumption stopped being associated with disease risk but that the threshold for lowest risk was 100g per week.

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