Results of one of the largest worldwide studies on alcohol consumption to date suggest current guidelines in most countries set healthy limits too high. The researchers found that more than six drinks per week significantly reduces life expectancy.
For this study, an international team of 120 researchers analyzed data from 599,912 drinkers in 19 different countries as far back as 1964. They determined that drinking more than 100 grams of alcohol – about 10 standard drinks – per week can jeopardize health. A standard drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits.
Using mathematical calculations, the researchers estimate death risk rises by 5 percent in people who drink 7 to 14 cans of beer per week, by 20 percent in those who drink more than 21 beers a week, and by 50 percent in those who drink more than 35 cans of beer per week. Alcohol damages several organs, including the liver, intestines, heart, and brain, and increases the risk for accidental death and some cancers.