Regular excess drinking can take years off your life, study finds

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Researchers looked at 83 studies involving 600,000 people from 19 high-income countries, with nearly half of data coming from the UK.

The study found similar results for men and women and pointed out that people aged 40 who consume 200-350g per week could increase their life expectancy by up to three years if they halved their alcohol consumption.

The drop in life expectancy for a 40-year-old who drinks between 100 and 200 grams is six months, on average, compared with someone who drinks between zero and 100 grams, the study found.

While the study also found alcohol consumption was linked to a lower risk of non-fatal heart attacks, experts said "on balance" there are no health benefits from drinking.

The findings are broadly in line with United Kingdom alcohol guidelines, which since 2016 have recommended drinking no more than 14 units of alcohol per week for both men and women. But even that is too much, according to this new study.

In Canada, it's recommended women drink a maximum of two glasses of beer or wine per day.

The large size and design of this study make its findings more reliable and applicable to high-income countries around the world.

They said their detailed analysis of cardiovascular conditions helped to explain the complex links between drinking alcohol and cardiovascular disease, which increased risk of conditions mainly caused by high blood pressure but slightly decreased risks of heart attacks - possibly because of links between alcohol and cholesterol.

He also noted it was important to remember the study focussed on mortality rates, not quality of life.

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Professor David Spiegelhalter, of the University of Cambridge, said: "This is a very impressive study".

Nowcomes a huge study spearheaded by the UK's University of Cambridge published in The Lancet this week. The really heaviest drinkes out there might lose as many years of life as a smoker (ten years lost), the researchers say.

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. Drinking raises the risk of both cancer and heart disease, and one study suggested that drinking accounts for 15 percent of breast cancer cases.

The study suggests that the risk of premature death rose quickly when more than 100g of alcohol was consumed per week - that's five to six glasses of wine or pints of beer.

"This powerful study may make sobering reading for countries that have set their recommendations at higher levels than the United Kingdom, but this does seem to broadly reinforce government guidelines for the United Kingdom", said Victoria Taylor, the Senior dietician at the British Heart Foundation.

No surprise, but the report finds that exceeding 100 grams increases your likelihood of a variety of bad things - stroke, aneurysm, heart failure, etc.

However, higher levels of alcohol were also linked to a lower risk of heart attack, or myocardial infarction. Spain and Romania set the upper limit for men at the equivalent of 20 drinks each week, for example.

The latest global research has just trashed Australian health guidelines of having no more than two alcoholic drinks each day.

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