Safe Alcohol Limits May Be Set Too High

  • Author: Marek Czykanski
  • Published: 20 April 2018
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
  • Source / Publisher: The Lancet/Elsevier
thumbnail image: Safe Alcohol Limits May Be Set Too High

Regular alcohol consumption increases the risks of liver cirrhosis, gastrointestinal disease, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and some types of cancer. Moderate alcohol consumption might reduce mortality from myocardial infarction. Therefore, many countries have low-risk limit recommendations for alcohol consumption. These limits vary substantially across different national guidelines.

Angela M. Wood and John Danesh, University of Cambridge, UK, and colleagues have found in a large survey study that these recommended limits for alcohol consumption are too high in many countries. To define thresholds associated with the lowest risk for all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease, the team studied individual-participant data from 599,912 current drinkers without previous cardiovascular disease in 83 prospective studies in 19 high-income countries.

Consuming 100 g of pure alcohol per week or less resulted in the lowest risk of premature death and cardiovascular disease. 100 g of pure alcohol is equivalent to about 0.9 L of wine or 3.1 L of beer. These data support limits for alcohol consumption that are lower than those recommended in most current guidelines.

Alcohol consumption was roughly linearly associated with a higher risk of stroke, coronary disease excluding myocardial infarction, heart failure, fatal hypertensive disease, and fatal aortic aneurysm. By contrast, increased alcohol consumption was log-linearly associated with a lower risk of myocardial infarction. In comparison to those who reported drinking 0–100 g per week, those who reported drinking 100–200 g per week, 200–350 g per week, or over 350 g per week had a lower life expectancy at age 40 years of approximately 6 months, 1–2 years, or 4–5 years, respectively.


Also of Interest


Article Views: 3228

Sign in Area

Please sign in below

Additional Sign In options

Please note that to comment on an article you must be registered and logged in.
Registration is for free, you may already be registered to receive, e.g., the newsletter. When you register on this website, please ensure you view our terms and conditions. All comments are subject to moderation.

Article Comments - To add a comment please sign in

If you would like to reuse any content, in print or online, from, please contact us first for permission and consult our permission guidance prior to making your request

Follow on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on YouTube Follow on LinkedIn Follow on Instagram RSS Sign up for newsletters

Magazine of Chemistry Europe (16 European Chemical Societies) published by Wiley-VCH