Cutting down drinking to half a unit saves lives
Reducing your alcohol consumption down to just half a unit each day can help you live a long and healthy life.
Research conducted by scientists at Oxford University believe that a small amount of alcohol causes no significant harm and cutting down could save around 4,600 lives in England each year.
Severe alcohol dependency is a major contributor to many chronic diseases.
Indeed, government guidelines say that men should limit their drinking to only three or four units each day. For women the number is two to three.
It is estimated that alcohol related illnesses cost the National Health Service more than £3.3 billion per annum.
The team at Oxford University looked at data from the 2006 General Household Survey so that they could build a clear picture of the drinking habits for 15,000 people in England.
By using a mathematical structure to study death rates from 11 diseases linked to alcohol consumption, the were able to investigate what level of drinking can lead to serious medical issues.
Conditions closely linked to drinking are coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, epilepsy and five forms of cancer.
"Over 4,000 deaths from cancer, heart disease, stroke and liver disease in England could be prevented if drinkers reduced their average level of alcohol consumption to half a unit per person per day - a level much lower than current UK government recommendations,” Dr Melanie Nichols, lead author of the paper, which was published in the British Medical Journal, said.
"Half a unit of alcohol is as little as a quarter of a glass of wine, or a quarter of a pint."
However, she added that this information should not been seen as someone from the medical profession attempting to lecture people on the amount of alcohol they consume.