Over-drinking could take five years off your life, says study

New research suggests even the Department of Health's strict new guidelines are too high

Half the group reported drinking more than six glasses of wine per week and 8.4 percent drank more than 21 glasses per week, according to report. USA recommendations state men shouldn't consume more than 14 standard drinks per week, but that's almost twice the limit proposed in this new study.

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. He explained that the study notes that people who are drinking less than 10 standard drinks a week have the lowest rates of deaths compared to others. Also one standard unit is a 100ml glass of 12.5 per cent alcohol wine.

Notably, the heavier drinkers were less likely to have a heart attack.

"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", co-author Dan G. Blazer of Duke University told The Lancet, which published the study Thursday.

Rao, visiting lecturer in old age psychiatry at King's College London, told The Guardian the study "highlights the need to reduce alcohol related harm in baby boomers, an age group now at highest risk of rising alcohol misuse". However, the overall effects of drinking more than seven drinks a week are more bad than good, lead researcher Wood said.

A new study has shown that the current safe limits of alcohol consumption are overestimated.

Tim Chico, is professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Sheffield.

While most Canadians drink alcohol in moderation, the government estimates four to five million of them engage in high risk drinking.

Researchers gathered data from 83 studies, starting between 1964 and 2010, that had information about drinkers who didn't have cardiovascular disease at the start of the study, their level of alcohol consumption and additional health data, and that followed up the participants.

"Although non-fatal heart attacks are less likely in people who drink, this benefit is swamped by the increased risk of other forms of heart disease including fatal heart attacks and strokes".

Excess alcohol consumptions can lead to a high risk of a range of life-threatening illnesses, including stroke and heart failure. None had a known history of cardiovascular disease. They stress that the lower risk of non-fatal heart attack must be considered in the context of the increased risk of several other serious and often fatal cardiovascular diseases.

It was funded by the UK Medical Research Council, British Heart Foundation, National Institute for Health Research in the UK, European Union and European Research Council.

"Just one alcoholic drink a day could shorten your life", reports BBC News.

"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. They include Italy, Portugal and Spain as well as the USA, where for men the recommended limit is nearly double.

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