15 April, 2018
Consuming between 200-350g per week lowered life expectancy by one to two years, and more than 350g by up to five years.
Drinking 200 to 350 grams was associated with a one- to two-year decline in life expectancy, and drinking more than 350 grams corresponded to a four- to five-year drop, on average.
Australian health guidelines say 14 standard drinks a week - that's about seven pints of beer, or about nine glasses of wine - is safe.
For example, USA guidelines recommend that men drink no more than 196 grams (7 ounces) per week, or 14 standard drinks. "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 20th of their remaining life".
Warren said there are studies that show the benefits of limited red wine. They noted that while alcohol may lower the risk of non-fatal heart attacks, it found that "on balance" there were no health benefits from drinking.
'We have 40 years of research, which shows light to moderate drinking equals improved cognitive function and memory in ageing as well as reduced chance of vascular dementia, ' said James Calder from the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA).
Analysis shows that approximately half of all drinkers go over the weekly recommended limit in the 19 high-income countries studied, while nearly one-in-ten people drink more than the equivalent of 21 pints of beer a week.
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For that reason, it's a little unclear exactly how much alcohol is "safe" to drink; in other words, it's hard to tell what level is associated with a low risk of health problems and substance disorders. The participants had to be current drinkers and were followed up for at least one year (most participants were followed up for between 5 and 18 years). The report, produced in part by Tim Naimi, an associate professor of medicine who studies public health and alcohol at the Boston University School of Medicine and Public Health, said the US has kept taxes on alcohol low and poorly enforces laws governing alcohol consumption.
This research recalibrates the concept of moderate drinking and gives a more complicated, nuanced interpretation of how alcohol affects cardiovascular health for better or worse.
But recent research has suggested that Americans need to reassess how much they drink.
About half the participants reported drinking more than 100g per week, and 8.4% drank more than 350g per week.
The new study estimates that 40-year-old men who drink as much as current USA guidelines suggest can expect to live one to two years less than men who have no more than seven drinks per week.
"The study focused on current drinkers to reduce the risk of bias caused by those who abstain from alcohol due to poor health".