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Drinking 1 beer a day can cut life expectancy by over 2 months: research

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Consuming a single alcoholic drink per day can reduce a person’s life expectancy by two-and-a-half months, according to an expert on substance use. 

Tim Stockwell, a scientist at the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research, told The Daily Mail that alcohol cuts down one's life expectancy.

Having a drink a day can lower life expectancy by two-and-a-half months, while having five drinks a day can decrease life expectancy by around two years, and two drinks per week can reduce it by as much as six days.

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“Alcohol is our favorite recreational drug,” Stockwell told the Daily Mail. “We use it for pleasure and relaxation, and the last thing we want to hear is that it causes any harm ... it’s comforting to think that drinking is good for our health, but unfortunately, it’s based on poor science.”

Stated harms of alcoholic consumption include damage to organs like the brain, liver and heart, damage to the nervous system, as well as contributing to heart disease and higher blood pressure.

Regarding studies that indicate non-drinkers suffer from various illnesses that drinkers can avoid, Stockwell told the Daily Mail that this was likely because the non-drinkers surveyed were former alcohol-consumers.

“These abstainers are often older people who gave up alcohol because their health was bad,” he explained. “Being able to drink is a sign you are still healthy, not the cause of being in good health. … There are lots of ways these studies give false results that are misinterpreted to mean alcohol is good for you.”

In recent years, medical experts have argued against the idea that regular consumption of alcohol can be beneficial and have encouraged people to reduce their intake of fermented drinks.

In July 2020, for example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture posted the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s final report on nutrition topics, which advised that men should consume no more than one alcoholic drink per day, down from the previous standard of two drinks a day.

“Therefore, the focus should remain on reducing consumption among those who drink, particularly among those who drink in ways that increase the risk of harms,” the report’s executive summary states. 

“The Committee concluded that no evidence exists to relax current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations, and there is evidence to tighten them for men such that recommended limits for both men and women who drink would be [one] drink per day on days when alcohol is consumed.”

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