That Extra Glass of Wine Might Take 30 Minutes Off Your Life

Drinking more than five glasses of wine a week could knock years off life, study suggests

About half of the drinkers reported consuming more than the U.K.'s recommended limits.

They recommend a woman consumes no more than 11 standard drinks or 110g of pure alcohol each week while men are allowed up to 17 standard drinks or 170g pure alcohol a week. The guidelines recommended women over 21 drink no more than one drink per day, but it rose to two drinks for men.

One resident of Shelton, commented: "I would say it's fairly accurate, but it's probably not going to affect my drinking habits for the next five years whilst I'm still at University".

The UK reduced its guideline limit to a "low risk" 14 units for both sexes in 2016, equivalent to six 175ml glasses of wine, six pints of beer or cider, or 14 single gin and tonics.

The study did not find an increased risk of death for light drinkers. One leading scientist compared the risks for a 40-year-old drinking over the daily guideline to smoking. You could think of that as about an hour per day, or just under half an hour per extra drink.

"Above two units a day, the death rates steadily climb", said David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge.

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Jeremy Pearson, an associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, which part-funded the study, called it "a serious wake-up call for many countries". "We should always remember that alcohol guidelines should act as a limit, not a target, and try to drink well below this threshold".

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

Anything more than six glasses is associated with a higher risk of stroke, coronary disease, heart failure and hypertension, according to the study. Unlike overall mortality's seven drinks a week, there wasn't a clear cutoff between lower alcohol intake and lower disease risk.

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. It does reduce the chance of a non-fatal heart attack. All participants had been recruited between 1964 and 2010 with a minimum 12 month follow-up, and none had a known history of cardiovascular disease.

"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", explained Dr. Angela Wood, the lead author of the study.

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