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Want to live as long as possible? You should probably cut back on the booze

Want to live as long as possible? You should probably cut back on the booze

An analysis, published in The Lancet, of more than half a million drinkers from 19 countries suggests that, to lower your risk of premature death from any cause, alcohol consumption should be capped at 100g per week.

 The findings support recently lowered guidelines in the UK, which recommend that both men and women should not drink more than 14 units or 112g of pure alcohol in a week. This equates to around six pints of 4% strength beer or six 175ml glasses of 13% wine.

 "The key message of this research for public health is that, if you already drink alcohol, drinking less may help you live longer and lower your risk of several cardiovascular conditions," said the study's lead author Dr Angela Wood, from the University of Cambridge, in a statement.

The study estimated how many years alcohol might slash off your life.

Compared to a person who drinks less than 100g alcohol/week, a 40-year-old who consumed

  • between 100-200g is likely to cut their life expectancy by six months
  • between 200-350g alcohol/week would cut up to two years off,
  • and drinking more than 350g alcohol would cut off up to five years

“What this is stating is, in case you’re extremely worried about your life span, don’t have in excess of a drink a day,” said David Jernigan, a Johns Hopkins University Alcohol analyst who was not engaged with the examination.

The study was funded by the BHF, UK Medical Research Council, National Institute for Health Research, European Union Framework 7 and European Research Council.

More information

  • Additional reporting on this - BBCHuffington Post
  • About Responsible drinking in People First's information pages
  • The Alcohol Service is an alcohol treatment and support service for the residents of Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea.
  • Drinkaware is a national independent charity whose website has a wealth of useful information and tips
  • Take the One You "How are you" quiz  to see how you can combine this with other tweaks to your lifestyle for a healthier future 
    • Visit the One You area on the People First website for local support in your borough