Over-drinking could take five years off your life, says study

New research suggests even the Department of Health's strict new guidelines are too high

People who drink more are more likely to suffer a stroke, heart failure and fatal aneurysms, according to research. Germany also has varying suggestions for limits on alcohol consumption: 12 grams of alcohol, about one drink, for women per day and twice as much for men.

It finds that the people who consume more than one drink a day face greater risks of dying from any cause than those who drink less.

Dr Bartone said all studies showed there was no "safe level" of alcohol consumption, and European health agencies have always been advocating to keep drinking to a minimum, as it is a contributing factor to a number of cancers, liver disease and all forms of heart disease and stroke.

David Spiegelhalter, a risk expert at Britain's University of Cambridge, said, "The paper estimates a 40-year-old drinking four units a day above the guidelines has roughly two years lower life expectancy".

The majority of people believe that moderate drinking is actually beneficial to cardiovascular health, but the study shows that UK's new lower guideline of moderate alcohol intake is a good measure.

In 2016, the United Kingdom guidelines were for 6 pints of beer or six glasses of wine per week, but they have recently lowered the guidelines with one less pint of beer or glass of wine.

Current Irish guidelines recommend a limit of 170g pure alcohol (17 standard drinks) per week for men and 110g pure alcohol (11 standard drinks) for women.

The report therefore concluded that the recommended weekly limit for consumption be standardised across different countries at that level for both men and women. Italians, Portuguese and Spanish drinkers are warned that consuming more than around nine glasses of wine could be unsafe. This new research suggests that this is still too much.

"This study completely overlooks the well-documented health benefits light to moderate enjoyment of alcohol brings", said James Calder, head of communications for the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA).

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The United States government now advises no more than seven drinks a week for women and 14 for men.

"An important message from this study is that optimal life expectancy is associated with a relatively low level of alcohol consumption - less than 100 grams per week - and that higher levels of consumption increase mortality risk", Professor Yeap said.

"The drinking levels recommended in this study will no doubt be described as implausible and impracticable by the alcohol industry and other opponents of public health warnings on alcohol". In an effort to avoid the problems that have plagued alcohol and health studies for decades, researchers only studied current drinkers, excluding abstainers or those who'd quit drinking.

Drinking more than 100 grams of alcohol per week was linked with a lower life expectancy.

The researchers also looked at the association between alcohol consumption and different types of cardiovascular disease.

"It's a very impressive study", said Aaron White, senior scientific adviser at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Estimated future years of life lost by extent of reported baseline alcohol consumption compared with those who reported consuming 0-≤100 g per week.

The findings appeared in The Lancet medical journal.

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