The health benefits of a daily glass of wine or may have been somewhat overstated, according to a study that shows regular drinking – even within “safe” limits – substantially increased the risk of premature death.
American researchers focusing on the impact of light and regular drinking found that people consuming alcohol on four or more days a week increased their risk of early death by 20% on average, The Independent reports.
Previous research has suggested benefits to the heart from a daily drink, but doctors from Washington School of Medicine showed that these benefits disappeared in people who drank regularly, and were outweighed by other risks.
– Consuming one or two drinks about four days per week seemed to protect against cardiovascular disease, but drinking every day eliminated those benefits. With regard to cancer risk, any drinking at all was detrimental – said Dr Sarah Hartz.
In the UK, current guidelines say adults should not regularly drink more than 14 units a week, that’s six medium (175ml) glasses of wine a week or pints of beer (of 4% strength).
For their study, Dr Hartz and colleagues analyzed data from more than 400,000 US adults between the ages of 18 and 85 and found the 20% higher risk of dying early, from any cause, when people drank on more than three days a week.
She recommends not consuming alcohol at all.
– As people age, their risk of death from any cause also increases, so a 20% risk increase at age 75 translates into many more deaths than it does at age 25 – Dr Hartz said.