An apple a day keeps the doctor away, as the saying goes, but what about a beer a day? Many are more in favor of practicing the latter, not surprisingly. In fact, general health guidelines dictate that women can safely consume one alcoholic beverage a day while men can drink two. Now scientists are saying that “healthy” amount of alcohol could raise your risk of dying by 20 percent.
A study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research concludes that drinking daily isn’t good for your long-term health. Consuming at least one to two drinks four times a week exposed humans to a higher chance of dying earlier than those who consumed alcohol three days a week or less.
“We should no longer tell ourselves that a glass of wine daily is good for us,” Dr. Sarah Hantz, the first author on the study, told Newsweek. “There are many things that we chose to do that are unhealthy, and drinking should be considered one of them.”
“This study is the first to show that daily drinking is dangerous,” she added.
This new study stands in stark contrast to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture. This is where you’ll find the above recommendation for the “healthy” amount of drinking for men and women.
Drinking in excess claimed around 88,000 deaths per year between 2006 and 2010, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Their lives were shortened by an average of three decades.
How, exactly, the excess drinking directly impacts your life isn’t as clear. Researchers did point to increased consumption patterns of alcohol leading to an increased risk of cancer. Otherwise, pinpointing the exact way extra drinking causes premature death is difficult to pin down because of so many variables, says researchers.
“Despite these limitations, because of the large samples and that the same result was seen in such different groups, we are fairly confident that the results are correct,” Hantz said.
Maybe just stick to an apple a day to keep the doctor away for now.