USA should lower alcohol recommendation because booze shortens our lives, study says

Posted April 15, 2018

To get there, they analyzed 83 studies on alcohol consumption pulled from a variety of worldwide studies spanning nearly 50 years and 19 countries, allowing them to compare the effects on multiple different "subtypes in current drinkers of alcohol".

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.

Compared to drinking under 100 grams of alcohol per week, drinking 100 to 200 grams was estimated to shorten the life span of a 40-year-old by six months.

Just think how easy it is to sink six pints of nice, cold lager on a hot summer's day, or to work your way through a few glasses of wine after a long day.

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However, industry figures have rallied against the study, claiming that it overlooks the "mental and social benefits" of sensible alcohol consumption.

The recommended limits in Italy, Portugal, and Spain are nearly 50% higher than this. Shawn Freeman, visiting from St. Louis, said other things influence how much he drinks, like his mood and whether he'll be driving.

"The key message of this research is that, if you already drink alcohol, drinking less may help you live longer and lower your risk of several cardiovascular conditions", said Angela Wood, the lead author of the study.

'It's as if each unit above guidelines is taking, on average, 15 minutes of life - about the same as a cigarette, ' said David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge. The researchers collected 83 individual studies from 1964 up to 2010, including one from Erasmus MC. "Drinking is really fun, but you should not do it for your health".

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Moderate alcohol consumption also poses health risks, according to a new global study.

But there is a benefit to drinking alcohol. Experts say this is because it increases levels of good cholesterol, which can help protect against fatty deposits in blood vessels, reducing your risk of heart and circulatory disease.

About half of the people in the study reported drinking more than 12.5 units of alcohol a week. This allowed researchers "to characterize risk thresholds for all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease subtypes in current drinkers of alcohol", the authors wrote.

The researchers estimated that reducing long-term drinking from the two-drink a day limit suggested by the United States government, to less than one a day, was associated with a one- to two-year boost in life expectancy in men. Alcohol drinking is linked to strokes, heart failure, and fatal aneurysm. 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). They also noted that the study was not able to account for people who reduced their alcohol consumption due to health complications. Public health advocates have criticized the Moderate Alcohol and Cardiovascular Health (MACH15) study in part because starting in 2013, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism solicited donations from the world's biggest alcohol producers, according to the New York Times, to fund the $100 million study-a project equal to a quarter of the agency's annual budget.

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