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Want to Live Longer? Study Proves You Must Drink Less Alcohol
15 April 2018, 12:33 | Rodolfo Quinn
The large-scale study analysed the drinking habits of people in 19 countries, and calculated how much lifespan a person might expect to lose if they maintained the same drinking habits from age 40 onwards. Spain, Portugal and Italy, the study states, have recommended limits almost 50% higher than the 100-gram threshold.
"The paper estimates a 40-year-old drinking four units a day above the guidelines has roughly two years lower life expectancy, which is around a twentieth of their remaining life".
"What this is saying is, if you're really concerned about your longevity, don't have more than a drink a day", said David Jernigan, a Johns Hopkins University alcohol researcher who was not involved in the study.
Current UK guidelines recommend limiting alcohol intake to 14 units a week for women and men.
In numerous individual studies included in the meta-analysis, the participants were asked only once about how much alcohol they drank - and people are notoriously bad at accurately reporting their drinking.
"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 strokes".
The British Heart Foundation's Senior dietician, Victoria Taylor stressed that this study "may make sobering reading for countries that have set their recommendations at higher levels than the United Kingdom, but this does seem to broadly reinforce government guidelines for the UK".
"Recommended limits in Italy, Portugal, and Spain are almost 50 percent higher than this, and in the United States of America, the upper limit for men is nearly double", the researchers found.
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Dr. Angela Wood of Cambridge University led the research.
Richard Saitz, a professor of community health at Boston University School of Public Health, says that the new information reported in The Lancet raises further ethical questions about an industry-funded study that asks people to drink a substance known to cause cancer even at low levels.
The researchers noted that the study tracked people's alcohol consumption for at least a year but did not examine the effect of alcohol consumption over a person's entire lifetime.
A large new study has suggested that you are more at risk of dying or of a range of heart and circulatory conditions if you have as little as one alcoholic drink a day.
"We should always remember that alcohol guidelines should act as a limit, not a target and try to drink well below this threshold". This allowed researchers "to characterize risk thresholds for all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease subtypes in current drinkers of alcohol", the authors wrote.
People who follow government guidelines to have a drink or so a day could be drinking themselves into an early grave, researchers said Thursday.
The research supports the UK's recently lowered guidelines, which since 2016 recommend both men and women should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol each week. Alcohol drinking is linked to strokes, heart failure, and fatal aneurysm.
In contrast, drinking more was associated with a lower risk of non-fatal heart attacks. During the following weeks volunteers each week used from 100 ml of alcohol.
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