It turns out, you may want to rethink that extra glass of wine. Apparently, our ideas of moderate drinking may not be as innocuous as we once thought. According to a new study at The Lancet, alcohol contributes to more early deaths than we thought — and the supposed benefits of alcohol (particularly wine) may not really be so beneficial after all.
The study, which involved 600,000 participants, comes alongside other reports that show alcohol is a level-one carcinogen. (It was labeled as such in 1988 by the the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer ).
“For years, there was a sense that there was an optimal level which was not drinking no alcohol but drinking moderately that led to the best health outcomes,” said Duke University’s Dan Blazer, an author of the paper. “I think we’re going to have to rethink that a bit.”
Typically speaking, “moderate” drinking for women in the U.S. meant one drink a day for women, and two for men. And yet, the study found that drinking “more than 100 grams of alcohol — about seven standard glasses of wine or beer — per week was associated with an increased in risk of death for all causes,” according to Vox.
Adding insult to inury: A “standard” glass of wine is five ounces. (If your fave bartender poured you that much, you’d probably be pissed.)
Vox went on to explain that “a person’s risk of death shot up as they drank more. The researchers used a mathematical model to estimate that people who consumed between seven and 14 drinks per week had a lower life expectancy at age 40 of about six months; people who drank between 14 and 24 drinks per week had one to two years shaved off their lives; and people who imbibed more than 24 drinks a week had a lower life expectancy of four to five years.”
Stephanie Mencimer wrote about her experience with breast cancer at Mother Jones, wondering if drinking contributed to her diagnoses. She pointed out that alcohol “causes at least seven types of cancer, but it kills more women from breast cancer than from any other. The International Agency for Research on Cancer estimates that for every drink consumed daily, the risk of breast cancer goes up 7 percent.” Yikes.
Mencimer puts it best when she said, “The fact is, people want to believe that drinking is good for them, and the science in this field is easy to manipulate to convince them.”
While we’re not telling anyone to never drink wine again, it’s always good to have the facts.