(Meredith) – Drinking just one extra glass of wine over the recommended weekly limit could cut your life expectancy by 30 minutes, according to a major new study.
The study, published in the Lancet medical journal, discovered that more than five standard glasses of wine or pints of beer each week could be dangerous to a person’s health.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge and the British Heart Foundation looked at nearly 600,000 drinkers across the world with no previous cardiovascular disease.
People who drank more than 100g of booze (five to six glasses of wine) per week increased their risk of stroke, fatal aneurysm, heart failure and early death, according to the study.
A 40-year-old who drank up to twice that amount cut their life expectancy by six months, and those who drank more than 350g of wine or beer cut their lives by four to five years.
"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.
The paper estimates a 40-year-old drinking 4 units a day above the guidelines [the equivalent of drinking three glasses of wine in a night] has roughly two years' lower life expectancy, which is around a twentieth of their remaining life.
This works out at about an hour per day. So it's as if each unit above guidelines is taking, on average, about 15 minutes of life, about the same as a cigarette.
Of course, it’s up to individuals whether they think this is worthwhile.
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.”
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