A glass of wine has been linked to various health benefits earlier but the latest research on the subject published in the journal ‘Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research’, has shown that consuming alcohol on four or more days of the week increases your risk of early death by 20 per cent.
“It used to seem like having one or two drinks per day was no big deal, and there even have been some studies suggesting it can improve health. But now we know that even the lightest daily drinkers have an increased mortality risk”, said first author Sarah M Hartz, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry.
After analysing more than 400000 American adults between the age group of 18 and 85, researchers from the Washington School of Medicine recorded that there was a 20 per cent high risk of dying early when people drank liquor on four or more days of the week compared with drinking three times a week or less. The increased risk of death was consistent across all age groups.
According to Hartz, “Consuming one or two drinks about four days per week seemed to protect against cardiovascular disease, but drinking every day eliminated those benefits”.
While a 20 per cent higher risk of early death may not seem like a cause of worry for people in their 20s and 30s, Hartz pointed out that it was a significant increase that must not be ignored and could help inform age-targeted drinking guidance. “As people age, their risk of death from any cause also increases, so a 20 per cent risk increase at age 75 translates into many more deaths than it does at age 25,” Hartz said.
Only last month, a research published in The Lancet, which reviewed data from more than 700 studies around the world, concluded that the safest level of drinking is none. But that study looked at all types of drinking – from light alcohol consumption to heavy drinking. However, the Washington University team analysis targets light or occasional drinkers. Light or not, the study quotes, “daily drinking, even at low levels, is detrimental to one’s health”.
“If you tailor medical recommendations to an individual person, there may be situations under which you would think that occasional drinking potentially could be helpful,” she said. “But overall, I do think people should no longer consider a glass of wine a day to somehow be healthy.”