Warning: Every Alcoholic Drink Shortens Your Life By 15 Minutes

Don't worry, this post contains some good news, too.

Every Alcoholic Drink Shortens Your Life By 15 Minutes
Photo by Tim Bennett via Unsplash

How many drinks have you had this week? Don’t worry, no need to say the number aloud. But if it’s more than five, you should reconsider your drinking habit if you want to live a long life.

According to a recent study published in The Lancet, a healthy person should consume a maximum of five drinks per week. In scientific terms that’s 100g of alcohol. In more approachable terms, that’s roughly five pints of beer or five moderate glasses of wine per week. Slugging down more than five drinks a week increases your risk of stroke, heart failure, fatal aneurysm, or death.

Researchers surveyed more than 600,000 people, analyzing their drinking habits and patterns from 83 studies conducted in 19 countries. One leading scientist compared the risks for a 40-year-old drinking over the daily guideline to smoking. Just drinking two units a day over the limit leads to steady increases of death rates.

“The paper estimates a 40-year-old drinking four 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 1/20 of their remaining life,” David Spiegelhalter, the University of Cambridge’s Winton professor for the public understanding of risk, told The Guardian. “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.”

Time for some good news. There was also a recent study that found drinking can be a benefit for individuals over the age of 90. Drinking two glasses of wine or beer a day improves your chances of living longer by 18 percent. Actually, for those in their 90s, consuming two drinks a day is better than exercising. Who knew your true golden years were in your 90s?

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