Every extra drink could shorten your lifespan by 30 minutes

Georgia Reed
April 15, 2018

A new worldwide study suggests that the recommended limits for drinking alcohol are too high in Canada and many other countries.

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.

"This study completely overlooks the well-documented health benefits light to moderate enjoyment of alcohol brings", said James Calder, head of communications for the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Heart Association both say men can safely drink up to two alcoholic drinks a day and women up to a drink a day.

A standard drink refers to 10 grams of pure alcohol, but a serving of alcohol usually differs from a "standard" drink.

We've all heard about how drinking a glass of red wine with dinner can be beneficial to heart health.

"The experiment showed that there is no benefit even from small doses of alcohol", said the study authors.

Another point of difference from these recommendations, is the study's universal threshold for a "minimum mortality risk" that doesn't discriminate between genders. However, the overall effects of drinking more than seven drinks a week are more bad than good, lead researcher Wood said.

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"This study has shown that drinking alcohol at levels which were previously believed to be safe is actually linked with lower life expectancy and several adverse health outcomes", said study co-author Dan Blazer of Duke University in North Carolina. "But above two units a day, the death rates steadily climb", explained Professor David Spiegelhalter from the University of Cambridge, who was not involved in the study.

It was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet on an open-access basis so is free to read online.

Many people can drink far more than that in a single day. For example, if a person drank over 10 drinks per week, they would live two years less, and 18 drinks per week can shorten the life with 4-5 years. Drinking increases the risk of stroke, heart failure, high blood pressure and a rupture in the aorta.

Bearing in mind that the 2016 United Kingdom guidelines recommend no more than 14 units per week - or the equivalent of six pints of beer or seven glasses of wine - it sounds like a fair few of us could be in trouble. The researchers focused on who developed - and died from - stroke and different forms of heart disease.

"Higher alcohol consumption is associated with lower risk of heart attack, but higher risk of stroke, heart failure and other heart events".

You could be taking years off your life by regularly drinking more than the advised United Kingdom guidelines for alcohol, according to new research from an global team.

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. Public health advocates have criticized the Moderate Alcohol and Cardiovascular Health (MACH15) study in part because starting in 2013, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism solicited donations from the world's biggest alcohol producers, according to the New York Times, to fund the $100 million study-a project equal to a quarter of the agency's annual budget.

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