Drinks a Week? US Alcohol Guidelines Should Be Lowered, Study Says

Drinks a Week? US Alcohol Guidelines Should Be Lowered, Study Says

Drinks a Week? US Alcohol Guidelines Should Be Lowered, Study Says

The new study estimates that 40-year-old men who drink as much as the current US guidelines allow can expect to live one to two years less than men who have no more than seven drinks per week. The highest level of drinking in the study - more than 350 grams per week - was linked with a 4- to 5-year reduction in life expectancy.

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

"The key message of this research is that, if you already drink alcohol, drinking less may help you live longer and lower your risk of several cardiovascular conditions", said Angela Wood from the University of Cambridge in the UK.

The global team analysed data on almost 600,000 drinkers aged 30-100, from 83 studies in 19 high-income countries.

According to a new report that looked at the habits of 600,000 drinkers, regularly knocking back above the United Kingdom alcohol guidelines (as in, something that many of us do) could shave years from your life expectancy.

In Australia, a standard drink is a 30ml nip of a spirit, a can of mid-strength beer or 100ml of wine (13.5% alcohol).

Alcohol consumption was found to be associated with a lower risk of non-fatal heart attacks but researchers point out that this must be weighed against increased risk of potentially fatal heart disease. However, risk of non-fatal heart attacks dipped with more alcohol.

"We have 40 years of research that shows light to moderate drinking equals improved cognitive function and memory in ageing as well as reduced chance of vascular dementia", Calder continued.

Strikingly, the data did not show a significant difference between men and women in the amount of alcohol that can be consumed without a drop in life expectancy. The risks of drinking over the allowed weekly limit for a 40-year-old were comparable to smoking, according to the study's authors.

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The research contradicts other commonly held notions that drinking in moderation is good for your heart.

However, higher levels of alcohol were also linked to a lower risk of heart attack, or myocardial infarction.

A huge global study has found that adults should not drink more than, on average, one alcoholic drink a day.

The study included dozens of researchers from around the world and almost 600,000 drinkers in 19 countries.

About half the people in the study reported drinking more than 100 grams of alcohol per week, and 8 percent drank more than 350 grams (12 ounces) per week. The researchers collected 83 individual studies from 1964 up to 2010, including one from Erasmus MC.

But there is a benefit to drinking alcohol.

The new research does not suggest that a drinker who has just a little too much every day is falling off an epidemiological cliff.

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.

If the MACH15 study produces an outcome favorable to the alcohol industry, Saitz and others believe it will be used by the industry to make health claims about its products even as more independent studies are consistently showing that people ought to be drinking less alcohol, not more.

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