The limits are lowered for people over the age of 65.
But as Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation (BHF) told the media, "this is a serious wake-up call for many countries".
But new findings published on Friday in The Lancet undermine that. The study included dozens of researchers from around the world and almost 600,000 drinkers in 19 countries. Most of the coverage was accurate, although the i chose to focus on the fact that Italy, Portugal and Spain have recommended alcohol limits which are higher than the United Kingdom and describing the UK's as some of the "strictest in the world" - although it did go on to point out that the research supports these lower guidelines.
In the U.S., the government says people who don't already drink shouldn't start.
A new global study suggests that the recommended limits for drinking alcohol are too high in Canada and many other countries. The Cambridge study tried to assess how useful such guidelines really are based on the science behind them, and where the true bright line might be when it comes to figuring out relatively safe drinking limits.
Researchers gathered data from 83 studies, starting between 1964 and 2010, that had information about drinkers who didn't have cardiovascular disease at the start of the study, their level of alcohol consumption and additional health data, and that followed up the participants.
But the authors highlight that their study account for people who may have changed their drinking habits and relied on data from people reporting their own drinking habits. The median follow-up period was 7.5 years.
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An worldwide team of researchers looked at data from 600,000 people in 19 countries, who were asked about drinking habits dating back as long ago as 1964. But the study found a striking linear relationship between alcohol intake and dying from any cause.
Drinking more than 100 grams of alcohol per week was linked with a lower life expectancy.
Drinking more than 12.5 units of alcohol per week (about five pints of average-strength beer or five medium glasses of mid-strength wine) was found to be associated with increased overall risk of death, stroke, heart failure, fatal aortic aneurysm, and coronary heart disease, apart from non-fatal heart attacks. Consuming between 200-350ml per week lowered life expectancy by one to two years, and more than 350ml by up to five years.
Cancer is the leading cause of death in La Crosse County. And it raises further questions about why the federal government is now recruiting subjects for a clinical trial, financed by the alcohol industry, to try to prove that alcohol prevents heart disease. Spain and Romania both suggest drinking as many as 20 alcoholic drinks per week for men is acceptable.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states excessive alcohol use leads to, among other afflictions, heart disease, stroke and cancer.
"The drinking levels recommended in this study will no doubt be described as implausible and impracticable by the alcohol industry and other opponents of public health warnings on alcohol", wrote Professors Jason Connor and Wayne Hall from the University of Queensland Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research, Australia.
"What it shows is that the amount of alcohol consumed affects the risk of dying", says Yeap.