The Ongoing Drinking Debate: Is There a Safe Amount of Alcohol?

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Having one or two drinks on four or more days a week raises your risk of premature death by 20 percent compared to having a drink or two on three or fewer days a week, according to a study from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

This study, published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, indicates that the potential benefits of light drinking suggested by other research, such as improvements in cardiovascular health, are outweighed by the risks of drinking alcohol, which include increased cancer risk. It also follows an analysis of 700 studies from around the world suggesting the healthiest option is not to drink alcohol.

The Washington University researchers focused on light drinkers — people who have one or two drinks per day. The study involved data on 340,668 participants ages 18 to 85 from the National Health Interview Survey and 93,653 people ages 40 to 60 who were outpatients at U.S. Veterans Administration clinics. The 20 percent increase in premature mortality is significant, say the researchers, because it includes risk of death from any cause, which increases naturally with age.

Sourced from: Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research