Medical

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

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

A standard drink in Germany contains between 10 and 12 grams of alcohol.

An analysis of nearly 600,000 people found drinking around five 175ml glasses of wine or pints of beer every week could shorten a person's life by six months.

In the USA, for example, the guidelines for men set an upper limit of nearly 25 units.

The study is one of the largest ever, co-authored by over 100 global academics who analysed alcohol use in 599,912 drinkers in 19 countries over five decades. The participants had been observed for at least a year after signing up.

The latest research shows that even small amounts of alcohol may reduce life expectancy.

Compared to a person who downs less than 100g alcohol/week, a 40-year-old who consumed between 100-200g is likely to cut their life expectancy by six months.

"The key message of this research for public health is that, if you already drink alcohol, drinking less may help you live longer and lower your risk of several cardiovascular conditions", said the study's lead author Dr Angela Wood, from the University of Cambridge, in a statement.

"The drinking levels recommended in this study will no doubt be described as implausible and impracticable by the alcohol industry and other opponents of public health warnings on alcohol", wrote Professors Jason Connor and Wayne Hall, University of Queensland Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research, in a commentary for The Lancet.




"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.

In the United States, for example, the recommended cutoff for men is 196g or 11 glasses of wine per week, and for women 98g.

Recommended alcohol limits in many countries should be lowered to around 100g/week for men and women, according to an analysis of data from almost 600,000 current drinkers in 19 countries published in medical journal, The Lancet.

Earlier studies had found women feel the effects of alcohol much quicker than men for numerous reasons, including the average man weighing more than the average women.

Commenting on the report, Petra Meier, a professor of public health at the University of Sheffield in Britain, urged caution in interpreting the results.

"We should always remember that alcohol guidelines should act as a limit, not a target, and try to drink well below this threshold".

But now a new study using data from 19 high income countries has found a reduction in life expectancy across all causes of death for people who consume more 100g per week.

A landmark study in The Lancet links high alcohol consumption with shorter lifespans.


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