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Light Drinking Increases Death, Study of 450K Adults Finds

06 October 2018

A new study suggests that folks who like to tip back a drink or two every day are more likely to die prematurely. Do you have a nightly glass of wine for health reasons?

Previous research has suggested that some moderate drinking may actually be beneficial for health, with a UK-led study which looked at almost 100,000 participants finding that the risk of death and developing some cancers is lowest in light drinkers who have consumed an average of one drink per day or less across their lifetime, while an worldwide research team led by the Medical University of Vienna in Austria found that a glass of red wine a day could reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer by around 12 per cent. Researchers at the University of Southern California also came out in support of moderate drinking at the beginning of 2018, saying alcohol can decrease the risk of stroke and heart disease, as well as reduce the risk for all causes of death, although only when enjoyed in moderation. Apparently, even light drinking may send you to an early grave. "It's a vice that's not great for us", she added. But while the authors say people in their 20s and 30s - where mortality rates are naturally lower - might not be particularly concerned about a 20 per cent increase in this risk, it could help inform age-targeted drinking guidance.

Only last month, a research published in The Lancet, which reviewed data from more than 700 studies around the world, concluded that the safest level of drinking is none.

Researchers from the Washington School of Medicine conducted a study on to what level "light and regular drinking" impacts their risk of death.

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But how might alcohol boost that risk?

"It looks like the increased mortality is predominantly due to cancer-related deaths", said Hartz. Specifically, drinking four or more times weekly, even if it's only 1-2 drinks at a time, increases risk of mortality. The health risks also increased as the amount of alcohol consumed increased.

Dr. Hartz and team's research, however, reveals that the health hazards that even people who drink lightly face outweigh any potential benefits.

A recent USA study revealed that light drinking might not be good for human health, despite the common belief that says otherwise. And the populations in these studies and the latest one are larger than in previous ones.

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In the USA, the guidelines stipulate that safe levels of drinking for men should be no more than 14 standard drinks per week.

For the study, the team looked at two large groups of people in the U.S.: more than 340,600 people in the National Health Interview Survey and more than 93,600 treated as outpatients at Veterans Administration clinics.

The study included information from more than 400 000 people. Another group of almost 94 000 were between the ages of 40 and 60 and had been treated as outpatients at Veterans Health Administration clinics.

For decades, scientists have been studying the effects of alcohol on the human body.

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According to Dr Guy Mintz, director of cardiovascular health and lipidology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York, "The jury is still out with regard to frequency and quantity of alcohol use".

Light Drinking Increases Death, Study of 450K Adults Finds