The health benefits of a daily glass of wine or alcoholic tipple may have been somewhat overstated – according to a study that shows regular drinking – even within ‘safe’ limits – substantially increased the risk of premature death.
American researchers focusing on the impact of light and regular drinking found that people consuming alcohol on four or more days a week increased their risk of early death by 20 per cent on average.
Previous research has suggested benefits to the heart from a daily drink – ascribed variously to beneficial anti-oxidants in red wine – reduced chance of blood clots or simply its stress-relieving properties as a social lubricant.
However doctors from Washington School of Medicine showed that these benefits disappeared in people who drank regularly and were outweighed by other risks.
‘Now we know that even the lightest daily drinkers have an increased mortality risk’ said Dr Sarah Hartz – first author of the research in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research on Wednesday.