Over-drinking could take five years off your life, says study

Chris Losh

Chris Losh

13 April 2018

Is alcohol as bad for you as smoking?

That is the bold statement from the latest medical study published in the Lancet medical journal.

The paper claims that drinking four units a day above the government’s current safe-drinking recommendation (of two units a day) could cut life expectancy by two years.

Go over that and the report claims that life expectancy drops by five years.

‘It’s as if each unit above guidelines is taking, on average, 15 minutes of life – about the same as a cigarette,’ said David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge.

The study, which looked at data from 600,000 people in 19 countries, supported the UK’s low safe-drinking limits. Set at just 14 units a week for men and women, they were introduced to a certain amount of skepticism by England's chief medical  officer Dame Sally Davies in 2016.

At two units a day consumption, the report found no negative health impact. Above this, there was increased risk of both heart attack and heart disease.

It suggested that countries with higher limits, such as the US, Spain and Italy, should drop their recommended intake to UK levels.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the report received a cool reaction from the drinks industry.

‘We have 40 years of research, which shows light to moderate drinking equals improved cognitive function and memory in ageing as well as reduced chance of vascular dementia,' said James Calder from the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA).

‘What about the simple, social, improvements to quality of life that being in a pub or taproom with your friends and family regularly brings to our wellbeing?’

 

 

Related articles

Spirits & Cocktails

Take me out: giving on-trade venues the off-trade factor

For a growing number of venues, adding an off-trade element to their business has been a good way of driving interest and loyalty as well as extra pro

Wine

Price rises could take fizz out of prosecco says Crown Cellars

Prosecco’s unstoppable rise in the UK could be about to tail off, according to Louise Boddington, wine category manager at Crown Cellars, Carlsberg’s

Wine

Gérard Bertrand ‘100% biodynamic within five years’

South of France winery Gérard Bertrand has told Imbibe that it plans to farm all its estate wines biodynamically by 2021.‘We have 600 hectares, 400 of

Spirits & Cocktails

Rice for life: The rise of rice in drinks

The likes of saké and horchata are well-known to most bartenders. But there’s a growing trend to work with rice to add flavour and texture as well.