Want Long Life? No More Than 1 Drink a Day

More than that risks heart problems, researchers say
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 13, 2018 2:44 AM CDT
Study Says Alcohol Should Be Limited to 1 Drink a Day
Bottles of alcohol in a state liquor store in Salt Lake City.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

Here's some sobering news: A large international study says adults should average no more than one alcoholic drink per day, meaning drinking guidelines in many countries may be far too loose. The study found that people who down more than seven drinks a week can expect to die sooner than those who drink less. "What this is saying is, if you're really concerned about your longevity, don't have more than a drink a day," says David Jernigan, a Johns Hopkins University expert not involved in the study. The research combined results from 83 studies conducted in 19 countries, tracking nearly 600,000 people who drank alcohol. The researchers, who excluded people with a history of heart problems, focused on people who developed—and died from—stroke and different forms of heart disease.

About half the participants said they had more than 100 grams of alcohol a week, equivalent to what's in seven 12-ounce cans of beer, 5-ounce glasses of wine, or 1.5-ounce shots of rum, gin, or other distilled spirits. The researchers found a higher risk of stroke, heart failure, and other problems in that group of heavier drinkers. That may partly reflect that alcohol can elevate blood pressure and alter cholesterol levels, the researchers say. Notably, the heavier drinkers were less likely to have a heart attack. But balanced against the increased risk of a stroke and other heart problems, the impact of drinking more than seven drinks a week is more bad than good, said the study's lead author, Dr. Angela Wood of the University of Cambridge. (At 105, this New Jersey woman claimed the key to a long life was three beers and a shot per day.)

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