Regular excess drinking could take FIVE years off your life as Sheffield medical expert says: 'Booze has no health benefits'
Regular excess drinking could take as much as FIVE years off your life, as a Sheffield medical expert warned that booze has no health benefits.
Those who regularly drink more than the UK alcohol guidelines are rapidly reducing their lifespan, a major new report has found.
The study of 600,000 drinkers estimated that having 10 to 15 alcoholic drinks every week could shorten a person's life by between one and two years.
And they warned that people who drink more than 18 drinks a week could lose four to five years of their lives.
The 2016 UK guidelines recommend no more than 14 units a week, which is six pints of beer or seven glasses of wine.
Authors of The Lancet study said their findings backed up the new guidelines and also said they did not find an increased risk of death for light drinkers.
Scientists compared the health and drinking habits of alcohol drinkers in 19 countries and discovered how much life a person could expect to lose if they drank the same way for the rest of their lives from the age of 40.
They found people who drank the equivalent of about five to 10 drinks a week could shorten their lives by up to six months.
The study's authors also found drinking increased the risk of cardiovascular illness, with every 12.5 units of alcohol people drank above the guidelines raising the risk of:
* Stroke by 14%
* Fatal hypertensive disease by 24%
* Heart failure by 9%
* Fatal aortic aneurysm by 15%
Drinking alcohol was linked with a reduced risk of non-fatal heart disease, but scientists said this benefit was wiped out by a higher risk of other forms of the illness.
There have been various studies claiming red wine is good for your - but these findings have not been borne out in research.
"This study makes clear that on balance there are no health benefits from drinking alcohol, which is usually the case when things sound too good to be true," said Tim Chico, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Sheffield, who was not involved in the research.
"Although non-fatal heart attacks are less likely in people who drink, this benefit is swamped by the increased risk of other forms of heart disease including fatal heart attacks and stroke."
Victoria Taylor, senior dietician at the British Heart Foundation, which partly funded the study, said: "Many people in the UK regularly drink over what's recommended."
"We should always remember that alcohol guidelines should act as a limit, not a target, and try to drink well below this threshold."
Dr Angela Wood, from the University of Cambridge, lead author of the study, said: "The key message of this research is that, if you already drink alcohol, drinking less may help you live longer and lower your risk of several cardiovascular conditions."