Currently, recommendations in the U.S. state that if you drink alcohol, you should limit your intake to 14 drinks (196 grams) per week if you’re a man and seven drinks (98 grams) per week if you’re a woman. Hold onto your wine glass because a new study reveals that the recommendation for men may be too high.
In the study of nearly 600,000 men and women who currently drink booze, researchers found that downing more than 7.14 drinks (100 grams) per week was linked with a higher risk for a slew of serious health issues as well as early death. The findings are published in the medical journal The Lancet.
The Sobering Facts
For the study, researchers followed participants for about six years. They found that those who drank more than 100 grams of alcohol per week had an increased risk for:
• Heart disease (excluding heart attack)
• Heart failure
• Fatal aortic aneurysm
Folks who only drank up to 100 grams per week had the lowest risk for death due to any cause. The researchers estimated that for guys, reducing alcohol consumption from 196 grams per week to 100 grams or less per week could tack on one to two years to your life.
Rethink Your Drink
Despite the widespread belief that alcohol—particularly red wine—is a heart-healthy sip, it can raise your blood pressure and take a toll on your ticker. The bottom line? Like most things in life, moderation is key. In this case, however, moderation may mean men drinking less than the current recommendations suggest.
If you currently consume more than seven drinks per week, here are some ways to decrease your intake and reduce your risks for alcohol-related problems:
• Measure your drinks at home to make sure you’re not over-pouring.
• Avoid “topping off” your glass.
• Alternate alcoholic drinks with nonalcoholic ones.
• Eat food when you drink so that the alcohol is absorbed into your system more slowly.
If you have any concerns about your health or alcohol intake, discuss them with your healthcare provider.