That Extra Glass of Wine Might Take 30 Minutes off Your Life


At age 40 drinking more then 100g of alcohol or 10 standard drinks has been found to lower life expectancy by between six months to five years. Having 18 drinks or more per week was linked with four to five years shorter life expectancy. Higher consumption was associated with a higher risk of stroke, heart failure, fatal hypertensive disease, and fatal aneurysms.

The authors of the study said their findings also challenged the widely held belief that moderate drinking is beneficial to cardiovascular health, and support the UK's recently lowered guidelines.

Recommended alcohol limits in many countries should be lowered to around 100g/week for men and women, according to an analysis of data from almost 600,000 current drinkers in 19 countries published in medical journal, The Lancet. But for those who do, the US Department of Agriculture's Dietary Guidelines recommend women limit their consumption to no more than one drink per day (98 grams per week) and men to two daily drinks (196 grams per week).

In 2016, the United Kingdom changed its national guidelines for alcohol consumption, reducing the recommended daily limit for alcohol. A new study has quantified the lifespan-shortening effects of alcohol, finding that for every extra glass of wine or pint of beer over a certain limit, people lose 30 minutes of their life.

Alcohol consumption is also associated with higher risks of several types of cancer, including breast cancer. Those in the study who drank a lot more than that had significantly higher risks of dying from any cause, including heart disease, but even going from one daily drink to two raised heart disease and mortality risks significantly.

Strikingly, the data did not show a significant difference between men and women in the amount of alcohol that can be consumed without a drop in life expectancy.

In the new study, published yesterday (April 12) in the journal The Lancet, researchers concluded that drinking guidelines should be lowered to a limit of 100 grams a week.

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Most Canadians drink alcohol and, as a country, we consume more than 50 per cent above the world average.

The worldwide team of researchers analyzed almost 600,000 people aged 30-100 from 19 different countries as part of 80 different studies. They also noted that the study was not able to account for people who reduced their alcohol consumption due to health complications. The researchers collected 83 individual studies from 1964 up to 2010, including one from Erasmus MC.

The work of British scientists confirmed the previous study according to which the safe dose of alcohol for men and women - 112 grams of alcohol 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".

Drinking even moderate amounts of alcohol will shave years off your life, according to an extensive global study that shows Australian guidelines are far too lax.

Of course, Victoria Taylor has a good point, saying that we should consider the guidelines as a limit, not a target!