After a long day of work, or parenting, sometimes a glass of rich Cabernet or an expertly crafted cocktail is just what the doctor ordered for a little relaxation.
But maintaining moderation in drinking is crucial for health, and research published in The Lancet shows that American guidelines on how much adults should drink, particularly men, may be skewed.
The international team of researchers behind the study contend that the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s recommended limit of two drinks per day for men is too high. That equates to almost 200 grams of alcohol weekly. They say drinking this much is actually harmful, and shortens Americans’ lifespans, by anywhere from six months to five years.
A limit of 100 grams per week, the current U.S. recommendation for women, is a better boundary for a long and healthy life, the study finds.
The scientists reached this conclusion by analyzing numerous data sets on general mortality and conditions such as heart failure, stroke and other cardiovascular ailments. Along with the United States, the authors noted that Spain, Portugal, Italy and Canada also have thresholds on safe alcohol consumption that are too high.
It’s easy to see how excess drinking could contribute to earlier death. First, there are deadly accidents that can be attributed to alcohol use, and then there is the toll that significant drinking takes on health. Over time, obesity, liver disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and certain forms of cancer can result from imbibing too much. Overindulging also damages relationships, careers and everyday living, adding unnecessary stress that creates additional health burden.
So, if you enjoy winding down with a glass of your favorite spirits, be mindful to limit yourself. That way, you’re more likely to stick around to enjoy life’s other beautiful pleasures.