The weekly alcohol limit still carries a risk of early death


A man drinking beer

 
Five pints a week can take its toll

Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

An analysis of nearly 600,000 people found those drinking more than 100g of alcohol every week – around five 175ml glasses of wine or pints of beer – were at an increased risk of early death.

The study analysed 599,912 current drinkers in 19 countries, none of whom had a known history of cardiovascular disease, and found an increase in all causes of death when more than 100g of alcohol was consumed every week.

According to the analysis, a 40-year-old who regularly drinks between 200g and 350g of alcohol per week – about 10 to 18 glasses of wine or pints of beer – has a lower life expectancy of around one to two years.

 

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Drinking more alcohol was also linked to stroke, heart failure, and fatal aneurysm risk.

Not heart healthy

The findings support recently lowered guidelines in the UK, which recommend that both men and women should not drink more than 14 units or 112g of pure alcohol in a week. This equates to around six pints of 4 per cent strength beer or six 175ml glasses of 13 per cent wine.

The study did find that the alcohol consumption is linked to a lower risk of non-fatal heart attacks, but that this is outweighed by the increased risk of other serious and potentially fatal cardiovascular diseases.

“The study makes clear that, on balance, there are no health benefits from drinking alcohol – which is usually the case when things sound too good to be true,” says Tim Chico, at the University of Sheffield, UK, who was not involved in the study.

Journal reference: The Lancet

Read more: Advice on how much booze we should drink must remain advice

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