Calls for a review of safe alcohol consumption guidelines

The recommended alcohol limit in Italy and Spain is almost 50 per cent higher than in the UK

Analysis shows that approximately half of all drinkers go over the weekly recommended limit in the 19 high-income countries studied, while nearly one-in-ten people drink more than the equivalent of 21 pints of beer a week.

Most of the coverage was accurate, although the i chose to focus on the fact that Italy, Portugal and Spain have recommended alcohol limits which are higher than the United Kingdom and describing the UK's as some of the "strictest in the world" - although it did go on to point out that the research supports these lower guidelines.

Dr Angela Wood, from the University of Cambridge, .

Researchers gathered data from 83 studies, starting between 1964 and 2010, that had information about drinkers who didn't have cardiovascular disease at the start of the study, their level of alcohol consumption and additional health data, and that followed up the participants. But in the USA, 100 grams is equivalent to what's in seven 12-ounces cans of beer, 5-ounce glasses of wine, or 1.5-ounce shots of rum, gin or other distilled spirits. "We should always remember that alcohol guidelines should act as a limit, not a target, and try to drink well below this threshold".

Forty-year-olds consuming between 14 and 25 drinks per week had about 1-2 years' lower life expectancy, while those drinking more than 25 drinks per week had about 4-5 years' lower than those drinking less than seven.

The guidelines recommend women over 21 drink no more than one drink per day, but this rises to two drinks for men.

However, higher levels of alcohol were also linked to a lower risk of heart attack, or myocardial infarction.

"Drinking more may reduce the risk of nonfatal heart attack, but actually, let's balance that against the higher risk of stroke and other fatal cardiovascular diseases and shorter life expectancy", Wood said. It considered about 600,000 people who drank alcohol.

The latest global research has just trashed Australian health guidelines of having no more than two alcoholic drinks each day.




But even that is too much, according to this new study. "Of course it's up to individuals whether they think this is worthwhile", he added.

"The issue of moderate drinking and its health effects is a very important one, because the majority of people in the country drink and most of those people do so moderately".

The study was published this week in The Lancet.

The research, which analyzed data from almost 600,000 people in 19 countries, found that drinking more than 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of alcohol per week (the equivalent of about seven standard drinks in the United States) was linked to an increased risk of early death during the study period.

The team also explored links between how much alcohol people consumed and their risk of different types of cardiovascular disease.

On the other hand, the risk of non-fatal heart attacks was somewhat smaller for people drinking more. Research that rolls together previous studies can be problematic if they aren't similar enough, though this one appears to have done a good job at overcoming that obstacle and combining comparable data, Jernigan said.

The American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund recommend in a joint report that people limit alcohol.

Beer drinking at the Oktoberfest Festival, September, 2014.

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