Drinking more than recommended limits can SLASH your life expectancy

How much booze can you drink before it starts killing you? Not much

The weekly alcohol limit still carries a risk of early death

Their findings indicate the US recommendation for alcohol is too high, could be leading to shorter life expectancies and therefore should be lowered.

That's equivalent to 10 standard drinks, well below Australian guidelines advising adults to limit themselves to two standard drinks a day (20g alcohol) to reduce their lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury.

This research recalibrates the concept of moderate drinking and gives a more complicated, nuanced interpretation of how alcohol affects cardiovascular health for better or worse. Alcohol is also associated with raised risk of cancers.

Alcohol consumption was found to be associated with a lower risk of non-fatal heart attacks but researchers point out that this must be weighed against increased risk of potentially fatal heart disease. The data show that the bad effects offset the good.

"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 stroke".

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For these conditions, there were no clear risk thresholds below which lower alcohol consumption stopped being associated with lower disease risk. And the study didn't account for any changes in their drinking habits.

Alison Douglas, Chief Executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland said: "This study reinforces the importance of the Chief Medical Officer's guidelines on lower risk drinking updated in 2016". About 50% of the participants admitted to drinking more than 100 grams per week. "It's important for us to be able to advise people what level of consumption is safe".

"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", says Blazer. The effects of alcohol on health are very complicated.

The new research does not suggest that a drinker who has just a little too much every day is falling off an epidemiological cliff.

However, the worldwide study carries implications for countries across the world, where alcohol guidelines vary substantially.

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In comparison to those who reported drinking less than 10 standard drinks (or five pints) a week, those who said they consumed between 10 and 20 per week, 20 and 35 per week, or more than 35 per week had an estimated lower life expectancy at the age of 40 of approximately six months, between one and two years and, four to five years, respectively.

On average, each unit of alcohol consumed over the 100g threshold, slices about 15 minutes off a person's life - about the same as a cigarette, David Spiegelhalter, a professor in the "understanding of risk" at the University of Cambridge said in a comment on the report.

Having 18 drinks or more per week was linked with 4-5 years shorter life expectancy.

Experts said it challenged the idea that light drinking was good for us.

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