Many countries are too lax with alcohol, issuing public health recommendations that expose consumers to significant risk, researchers said in a study published by The Lancet on Friday
Many countries are too lax with alcohol, issuing public health recommendations that expose consumers to significant risk, researchers said Friday in a study published by The Lancet.
These scientists, epidemiologists or public health specialists, have established that the level of consumption without excessive danger was 100 g of pure alcohol per week. This corresponds to 10 “standard” glasses: 25 cl of beer, 10 cl of wine, or 3 cl of strong alcohol.
This level, the “minimum mortality risk” ceiling, was calculated by examining the lifespan and causes of possible death in about 600,000 drinkers, subjects of 83 medical studies.
Among the countries that should lower their recommendations, the authors cite Italy, Portugal and Spain, and to a lesser extent the United States, Canada or Sweden.
But they omit others who have similar recommendations, such as Belgium (21 glasses a week for men, 14 for women) or Switzerland (10 to 15 glasses per week for men).
France is more severe: Public Health France had published in May 2017 a recommendation of independent experts to 10 glasses per week maximum.
According to the database of the International Alliance for Responsible Alcohol Consumption (IARD), organization of alcohol, some countries set the limit much higher, to 40 g of pure alcohol per day: South Korea, Spain, Estonia, Japan, Romania and Uruguay.
The study in The Lancet indicates that at the age of 40, one reduces one’s life expectancy by six months by consuming 100 to 200 g of alcohol a week, from one to two years with 200 to 350 g , and four to five years with over 350 g.
The moderation advice seems anyway poorly followed. Among the people studied, “about 50% said they drink more than 100 g of alcohol a week, and 8.4 more than 350 g a week,” the authors note.
David Spiegelhalter, a professor in Cambridge who did not participate in the study, calculated that each glass, in excess of 10 per week, shortened life by 15 minutes. “Of course it’s up to everyone to see if they think it’s worth it,” he told Science Media Center.