One drink a day takes six months off life

13th April, 2018 by Melita Kiely

A major international study has shown that drinking one alcoholic beverage a day could shorten your life – by six months.

Alcohol

Study shows one alcoholic drink a day could shave six months off your life expectancy

An analysis of 599,912 current drinkers in 19 countries without previous cardiovascular disease showed that consumers who drink more than 100g of alcohol each week were at an increased risk of early death.

Authors of the international study, published in The Lancet journal, said the findings support the recently lowered alcohol guidelines in the UK, which now recommend both men and women should not exceed more than 14 units or 112g of pure alcohol in a week. One unit is equivalent to a 25ml measure of a 40% abv spirit.

Researchers calculated how much life a person could lose if they drank the same way for the rest of their lives from the age of 40.

They discovered that the top safe limit of alcohol consumption before there was an increased risk of death was around 12.5 units per week – 1.5 units lower than the current UK recommended guidelines.

However, the research suggested that all levels of drinking increased cardiovascular illnesses, and for every 12.5 units consumed on a weekly basis the risk of stroke rose 14%, fatal hypertensive disease grew 24%, heart failure was up 9% and fatal aortic aneurysm increased by 15%.

The study showed that up to five drinks a week resulted in no significant life shortening; five to 10 drinks reduced a person’s lifespan by six months; 10 to 15 drinks decreased life expectancy by one to two years; and 18 or more drinks could shave four to five years off someone’s lifespan.

The study concluded: “Our study shows that among current drinkers, the threshold for lowest risk of all-cause mortality was about 100g per week.

“For cardiovascular disease subtypes other than myocardial infarction, there were no clear thresholds below which lower alcohol consumption stopped being associated with a lower disease risk.

“These data support adoption of lower limits of alcohol consumption than are recommended in most current guidelines.”

However, UK alcohol watchdog the Portman Group refuted the calls for lower guidelines.

A spokeswoman for the Portman Group said: “The UK’s guidelines are already among the lowest in Europe and the vast majority of adults already drink at or below this level or choose not to drink alcohol.

“Rates of harmful drinking and binge drinking have been in decline for a decade so further changes would be unnecessary and entirely confusing for consumers.”

Leave a Reply