Bad News: The Daily Recommended Limit of 1 Drink per Day May Be WAY Too Much
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You've heard that alcohol in moderation could have health benefits—but a review of recent studies found that we've been seriously overestimating what moderate drinking really is.
If you drink a glass of wine or a single beer a night, you probably consider yourself a moderate drinker—but it turns out you may be drinking way too much alcohol.
A team of researchers at the University of Cambridge completed an extensive meta-study—reviewing data from 83 different studies conducted on alcohol consumption, and their conclusion, published in Lancet Medical Journal, found the current United States moderate drinking guidelines are much too high. Despite years of research suggesting holistic benefits of enjoying moderate amounts of alcohol, it seems that our notion of moderate is off by a lot.
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The researchers looked at data tracking the drinking habits of 600,000 people from 19 high-income countries. Those who reported drinking less than 100 grams of alcohol weekly, or approximately seven drinks, had the lowest mortality rate. The mortality rate increased dramatically beyond that threshold.
While previous studies compared moderate drinkers to non-drinkers, this study noted that some portion of non-drinkers actually quit drinking for health-related reasons. When this population was accounted for, and moderate drinkers were compared to what they termed "never-drinkers," the health implications of regular alcohol consumption became much more starkly clear.
Those who reported consuming anywhere from seven to 14 drinks per week had their average life expectancy lowered by six months. In addition, participants who reported 14 to 18 drinks per week (and for men, the lower end is currently in recommended guidelines) had a lower life expectancy of one to two years, and those who reported more than 18 drinks per week had a lower life expectancy of four to five years.
Using numbers and guidelines presented within the study, a report published by The Guardian figured that one extra glass a day could take 30 minutes off your life.
The researchers behind the study are calling on health professionals around the world to change intake guidelines—in 2016, the United Kingdom did change their recommendations to lower their healthy intake guidelines significantly: No more than six drinks a week, both for men and women. In the wake of this momentous study being published, that move might have paid off for the British public—and might serve as a model for other countries to follow.
"This study has shown that drinking alcohol at levels which were believed to be safe is actually linked with lower life expectancy and several adverse health outcomes," co-author Dan G. Blazer of Duke University said, according to USA Today.
In the United States, two in three adult drinkers report drinking above moderate levels at least once a month, according to the CDC. In a country that already goes beyond the generous health recommendations, researchers are urging the government to reconsider their guidelines in the future.
6 Ways Your Diet Is Destroying Your Sex Life
A lot of things can sink your erection: poor heart health, smoking, and certain medications are all culprits of problems below the belt.
Another major mood killer? A crappy diet. The foods you eat, how much you eat, and how often you eat them can mess with your energy levels, blood flow, and hormones &mdash all key players in supercharging your sex life.
Think about it: There are plenty of foods that help you get it up, keep your sperm healthy, and boost your testosterone. So naturally, some eating habits exist on the other end of the libido-killing spectrum.
Here, six ways your diet can tank your sex life &mdash and exactly what you can do to get your performance up to par.
What happens if you take too many vitamins?
Despite what you might&rsquove heard, it&rsquos pretty much impossible to take too many vitamins from unfortified foods alone. For example, it&rsquos been rumoured that eating multiple bananas is dangerous for your health since the fruit is high in potassium.
However, you would need to eat more than seven bananas to reach the recommended daily target of 3,500mg per day &ndash and more than 42 bananas, ingested in a very short period of time, to become sick from a dietary overdose of the mineral.
&lsquoOn the whole, people generally believe that vitamins must be safe and that even if they don&rsquot result in any benefit, they are unlikely to cause harm,&rsquo says Dr Lee. However, a scientific review of quality randomised controlled trials surrounding the use of vitamins concluded that &lsquotaking high doses of vitamins A, E, D, C, and folic acid did not always help prevent disease, and in some situations could be harmful,&rsquo she says.
So how do you know how much alcohol you’re drinking?
All that variation means it’s hard to say how much alcohol there is in “a beer”. And as well as the ABV, serving size can vary too. A standard bottle of lager contains 330 milliliters – but bottles can vary. Cans can contain 330, 440, or 500 milliliters. And a pint, of the kind served in British pubs, is 568 milliliters.
All that means it’s not easy to know exactly how much alcohol you’re drinking. But you can calculate it, as long as you know the ABV figure and the volume of drink.
The way you do this is the same as you calculate any percentage. Start with the volume in milliliters, then multiply it by the ABV figure divided by ten. That will give you the amount of alcohol in milliliters that’s in your drink.
So if you were drinking a 330-milliliter bottle of beer, with an ABV of 3.6, the calculation would be:
330 x 0.036 = 11.88 milliliters of alcohol.
Potential Protein Problems
Protein powders are sold as dietary supplements, of which the FDA does not evaluate the quality or safety. Therefore, Harvard Medical School warns that there's no way to be sure just what is in your protein powder or if it contains what the manufacturer claims.
Some of the contents could even be toxic. In 2018, the Clean Label Project tested 134 top selling protein powders for industrial and environmental contaminants and found that:
- 70 percent had detectable levels of lead
- 74 percent had detectable levels of cadmium
- 55 percent had detectable levels of bisphenol-A (BPA)
One test sample was shown to have 25 times the allowed regulatory limit of BPA in one serving. If you drank three protein shakes a day made with that protein powder, you would get 75 times the limit. Consuming too much protein powder could increase your risk of toxic doses of these contaminants.
Men, like women, should limit alcohol to 1 drink a day, expert panel says
If you decide to have an alcoholic drink, limiting yourself to one a day is best — whether you’re a man or a woman.
That’s the new advice experts are recommending for the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are scheduled to be updated later this year for the first time in five years. The guidelines now say men should limit themselves to two drinks a day and that women should limit themselves to one. That advice has been in place since 1990.
In a report released Wednesday, a committee of experts noted there wasn’t adequate evidence to support different alcohol recommendations for men and women, and that research supports tightening the limit for men. U.S. health agencies that issue dietary guidelines aren’t required to adopt the committee’s recommendations.
“As a nation, our collective health would be better if people generally drank less,” said Dr. Timothy Naimi, an alcohol researcher at Boston University and one of the experts on the committee convened by federal officials.
The proposed advice shouldn’t be interpreted to mean that not having a drink on Thursday means you can have two on Friday, Naimi said. One drink is the equivalent of about one 12-ounce can of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine or a shot of liquor.
This just in, and it’s definitive (for now): People who drink alcohol in moderation — especially older people, women and non-Latino white people — are less likely to die of any cause than are teetotalers or people who consume heavy doses of alcohol either on occasion or in an average week.
The advice is based on links that researchers observed between drinking habits and all causes of death, including heart disease, cancer and car accidents, rather than a specific physical harm that alcohol might have. Such observational studies, common in food and nutrition science, do not establish a cause-and-effect relationship but are often the best evidence available, so experts use them to give guidance.
With alcohol, Naimi said, two drinks a day were associated with an increased risk of death compared with one drink a day. He said the increase was modest but notable enough for the committee to recommend updating the advice.
Whether the proposed new advice would influence behavior isn’t clear. Many Americans already exceed the current advice on alcohol limits, Naimi noted. Still, he said most people could generally benefit from any reduction in alcohol, even if they’re not within the advised limits.
The report noted that the guidelines might be aspirational but were important for “stimulating thought around behavior change.”
The guidelines are based on the overall health of a population, and an individual’s risk from drinking can vary depending on a variety of factors and health habits, said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a professor of nutrition at Tufts University.
Mozaffarian also noted that many people misinterpreted the current advice to mean they should have one or two drinks a day. The limits are meant for people who already drink. The guidelines say that people who do not drink should not start.
The occasional candy or cookie can give you a quick burst of energy (or “sugar high”) by raising your blood sugar levels fast. When your levels drop as your cells absorb the sugar, you may feel jittery and anxious (a.k.a. the dreaded “sugar crash”). But if you’re reaching into the candy jar too often, sugar starts to have an effect on your mood beyond that 3 p.m. slump: Studies have linked a high sugar intake to a greater risk of depression in adults.
You probably rolled your eyes at age 12, but your mother was right, candy can rot your teeth. Bacteria that cause cavities love to eat sugar lingering in your mouth after you eat something sweet.
You'll probably age more rapidly
Talk about the 20 Worst Eating Habits That Are Shaving Years Off Your Life. An American Journal of Public Health study linked drinking 20-ounces of sugar-sweetened soda a day to 4.6 additional years of aging compared with those who didn't drink soda or sugar-sweetened beverages.
The Facts on Sodium and High Blood Pressure
Everybody has sodium in their diet it's a fact of life. Sodium is an essential nutrient. Some of us, however, may be getting too much, and often we aren't even aware of where it's hiding in the foods we're eating. Learn why lowering your sodium intake may benefit your health.
Sodium Intake Adds Up
The good news first: Salt has many uses. It raises the boiling point of water, tenderizes meats and enhances the flavor of many foods. The bad news is that table salt contains 2,300 milligrams of sodium per teaspoon. For most people and children 14 years and older, the recommendation is to limit sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams per day. For those with existing blood pressure or other health concerns, the recommendation may be even lower. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, children ages 1 through 3 are recommended to limit sodium intake to 1,200 milligrams per day 1,500 milligrams per day for children ages 4 through 8 and 1,800 milligrams per day for ages 9 through 13.
It would be difficult to consume that much sodium in one concentrated bite. Instead, sodium intake adds up throughout the day. And based on estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only a small amount of the average Americans' daily intake comes from adding salt to food at the table. Salt in processed and ready-to-eat foods delivers the majority of sodium in our diets.
Sodium is prevalent in many of the foods we eat and in excess can be harmful to our health. However, a number of studies show that decreasing sodium intake can lower blood pressure. Consuming less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day for adults can have an additional impact of lowering blood pressure, especially when combined with the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, eating plan, a fruit and vegetable-centered diet that is lower in sodium and fat. Good sources of potassium &mdash an important mineral of the DASH diet which has been shown to help decrease blood pressure &mdash include potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, beans and orange juice.
Sodium's Hidden Sources
Beware: Sodium isn't only in salty snacks or the table shaker. Many of the already prepared foods and meals you consume at restaurants, cafes and grab-and-go items at grocery stores have sodium, because it's an inexpensive way to add flavor and is an effective way to preserve foods. Even foods with low to moderate sodium content can lead to a high sodium diet if you consume too much of them.
Topping the list for highest percentage of our daily sodium consumption are items such as bread, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, fresh and processed poultry, soups, sandwiches (including burgers), cheese and pasta.
How to Reduce Sodium Intake
The best way to combat high sodium in your daily diet is to watch your intake of highly processed foods. Read the Nutrition Facts label and look for the Daily Value of sodium in the foods you eat. And consider these satisfying options to keep sodium under control: fruits and vegetables, unsalted nuts, legumes and whole grains (including brown rice, oats and barley).
Worst News Ever: Why One Drink a Day Can Shorten Your Lifespan
New research indicates we might have to lower the daily guidelines for alcohol consumption.
Over the last few years, you've probably heard a lot about how moderate drinking (the keyword there being "moderate") can actually be good for you. There's plenty of science-backed research citing how the resveratrol and anti-oxidants in a glass of red wine can boost your heart health and even help you lose weight, as well as research saying a a few glasses of champagne per week can help stave off dementia and memory loss. People who live in Sardinia, where residents have some of the longest life spans in the world, credited a glass of wine per day with lunch as one of the many secrets to longevity. There was even a recent study that claimed drinking two units of alcohol a day (which comes out to 12 oz for beer, 5 oz for wine, and 1.5 oz for spirits) can help remove waste from your brain and improve its health in your later years.
However, a UK study recently published in The Lancet now claims that having as little as 5 to 10 drinks per week can shorten your lifespan by 6 months. The more you drink, the bigger that number becomes. Researchers found that having 10 to 15 drinks per week can shorten a person's life by one or two years, and those who consume more than 18 drinks a week are at risk of losing as many as 4 or 5 years of their lives.
To conduct the study, researchers analyzed the data of almost 600,000 drinkers with an average age of 57 in 19 high-income countries. Participants had to have no history of cardiovascular disease in order to be part of the study, which took into account age, sex, smoking, and diabetes for their results.
Researchers found a "a positive and curvilinear association with the level of alcohol consumption, with the minimum mortality risk around or below 100 g per week." For every 12.5 units of alcohol people drank above the recommended UK guidelines of 14 unites per week, the risk of stroke increased by 14%, the risk of fatal hypertensive disease by 24%, heart failure by 9%, and fatal aortic aneurysm by 15%.
That means, if you really want to play it safe, you have to limit yourself to 100 grams of alcohol, which translates to about 6 glasses per week. That's less than the current threshold of the 2015-2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which set the bar at one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
The authors of the study admitted it had its limitations, including potential bias from self-reported surveys, a lack of records of alcohol consumption over the course of the entire lives of the participants, and non-alcohol related factors that could potentially contribute to a shorter life span. Nonetheless, the findings strongly indicate that the recommended dose of alcohol per week should be lower than it is at present, a conclusion that is in accordance with the most recent information available from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Although past studies have indicated that moderate alcohol consumption has protective health benefits (e.g., reducing risk of heart disease), recent studies show this may not be true," the official website reads. "While some studies have found improved health outcomes among moderate drinkers, it's impossible to conclude whether these improved outcomes are due to moderate alcohol consumption or other differences in behaviors or genetics between people who drink moderately and people who don't. "
At the end of the day, how much you drink depends on how much you value short-term gratification over a long-term lifespan. But the research helps keep you informed. Lead author Dr Angela Wood, from the University of Cambridge, told BBC.com that, "The key message of this research is that, if you already drink alcohol, drinking less may help you live longer and lower your risk of several cardiovascular conditions." And if you're looking to clean up your act soon, know that This Is the Difference Between a "Cleanse" and a "Detox."
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