Extra glass of wine, beer takes 30 minutes off your life

Bessie Dean
April 14, 2018

That is about the same as smoking one cigarette.

Since the researchers are in the United Kingdom, they worked with the UK's drinking recommendations, which were lowered in 2016 to no more than 14 units of alcohol each week, or six pints of beer or six glasses of wine.

But the study's lead author, Angela Wood of the University of Cambridge, noted that the benefit must be balanced against the higher risk associated with other serious, and possibly fatal, heart ailments, The Guardian said.

Researchers also looked at the association between alcohol consumption and different types of cardiovascular disease.

It is now the sixth biggest cause of illness for those in their 50s and 60s, with numbers rising.

The study of almost 600,000 drinkers found that the risk of death from all causes increased as alcohol consumption climbed.

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"The paper estimates a 40-year-old drinking four units a day above the guidelines has roughly two years lower life expectancy, which is around a twentieth of their remaining life".

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.

The study found that a heightened alcohol consumption was linked to a greater chance of stroke, heart failure, and fatal aneurysm. By contrast, increased alcohol consumption was associated with a somewhat lower risk of non-fatal heart attacks ("myocardial infarction"). The decision was hotly debated and criticized at the time, but the new study supports the maximum of 14 units a week for both men and women set out by England's chief medical officer.

Commenting on the study Prof David Spiegelhalter of the University of Cambridge, said: "This is a massive and very impressive study". Consuming two bacon sandwiches a week or sitting watching a hour of television per day is statistically more risky for long-term health.

We won't bore you with the math it takes to figure out how many units of alcohol are in your drink, but instead, provide this handy guide that shows that on average, a glass of red wine has two units of alcohol while white wine has three.

Of course, it's up to individuals whether they think this is worthwhile.

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