Drinking Too Much Alcohol May Shave Years off of Lives
A new international study says, that drinking more than 1 alcoholic beverage a day can take years off your life,
The study found that people who down more than 7 drinks a week can expect to die sooner than those who drink less.
“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.
While the US government currently recommends no more than 7 drinks a week for women, the recommendation for men is 14. That is because earlier studies found women are hit by the effects of alcohol at lower amounts than men for several reasons, including women weigh less than men on average and blood alcohol concentrations rise faster.
The new study estimates that 40-year-old men who drink as much as the current US guidelines allow can expect to live 1 -2 years less than men who have no more than 7 drinks per week.
The study “is a serious wake-up call for many countries,” Jeremy Pearson of the British Heart Foundation said in a statement. The group partly funded the study, which was published Thursday by the Lancet journal.
The research combined results from 83 studies conducted in 19 countries, tracking nearly 600,000 people who drank alcohol.
The researchers focused on who developed and died from stroke and different forms of heart disease. They made a point of excluding people who had a known history of heart problems at the time they had entered a study.
About 50% the participants said they had more than 100 grams of alcohol a week.
There is variation from country to country as to how many grams of alcohol are generally found in a standard drink.
In Britain, that’s about 6 pints of beer a week.
But in the US, 100 grams is equivalent to what’s in 7 12-oz cans of beer, 5-oz glasses of wine, or 1.5 oz shots of rum, gin or other distilled spirits.
The researchers found a higher risk of stroke, heart failure and other problems in that group of heavier drinkers. That may partly reflect that alcohol can elevate blood pressure and alter cholesterol levels, the researchers said.
Notably, the heavier drinkers were less likely to have a heart attack.
But balanced against the increased risk of a stroke and other heart problems, the impact of drinking more than 7 drinks a week is more bad than good, said the study’s lead author, Dr. Angela Wood of the University of Cambridge in England.
Researchers relied on what participants reported drinking at the start, recognizing that many people may be low-balling how much they actually down. And the study did not account for any changes in their drinking habits.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively and Drink responsibly