A New Study Shows That Light Drinking Of Alcohol Increases Risk Of Premature Death By 20 Percent

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If you think that light drinking is safe, think again, because a new study has shown that even consuming small amounts of alcohol can still increase the risk of premature death by 20 percent. In other words, that glass of wine each day that may have once been deemed safe may not be so safe after all, at least according to the newest research that was conducted by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

As Washington University in St. Louis reported, the new study tracked 400,000 people that were between the ages of 18 to 85, and scientists concluded that having one to two drinks four or more times each week, which was previously estimated to be somewhat safe, actually meant that these drinkers had a 20 percent change of dying prematurely when compared with non-drinkers or those who drank less than three times per week. Despite the wide range of ages of those in the study, the results were exactly the same for all individuals.

As first author, Sarah M. Hartz, explained, even light drinkers were found to be at an increased risk of premature death in the new study.

“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.”

Scientists involved in the new research analyzed the risk of heart disease and different cancers and found that while alcohol may be safe for some heart problems, on the whole, those who were considered light drinkers and drank small amounts either daily or weekly were still at a much higher risk of contracting cancer, which greatly increased their mortality risk. In fact, when it comes to cancer, any drinking is actually highly detrimental, 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. With regard to cancer risk, any drinking at all was detrimental.”

“A 20 percent increase in risk of death is a much bigger deal in older people who already are at higher risk,” Hartz further noted. “Relatively few people die in their 20s, so a 20 percent increase in mortality is small but still significant. As people age, their risk of death from any cause also increases, so a 20 percent risk increase at age 75 translates into many more deaths than it does at age 25.”

The new study, which has determined that even light drinking can cause premature death, follows the recent study on alcohol consumption that was published in The Lancet which looked at 700 worldwide studies and found that the safest level of alcohol consumption is technically none.