A new study suggests that drinking one alcoholic drink on a daily basis could shorten your life expectancy. The research found that drinking more than 100 grams of alcohol per week – equal to roughly five to six glasses of wine in the United Kingdom – increases your risk of death from all causes, and in turn lowers your life expectancy.
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. Drinking 200 to 350 grams per week was estimated to reduce life span by one to two years; drinking more than 350 grams per week by four to five years.
A team of international researchers studied the drinking habits of almost 600,000 current drinkers included in 83 studies across 19 countries. Data on the age, gender, diabetes status, smoking habits and other factors relating to cardiovascular disease were also analysed.
“The key message of this research for public health 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, a biostatistician from the University of Cambridge, who led the study.
The team also explored links between how much alcohol people consumed and their risk of different types of cardiovascular disease. People who drank more had a higher risk of stroke, heart failure, fatal hypertensive disease and fatal aortic aneurysm, where your artery or vein swells up and could burst.
“This study has shown that drinking alcohol at levels which were believed to be safe is actually linked with lower life expectancy and several adverse health outcomes,” said Dr. Dan Blazer of Duke University, who co-authored the study.