Don't drink more than three times a week, new study says

Three is the magic number, if you don't want to raise the risk of early death. Cheers?

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, generational studies. Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper

Cersei on Game of Thrones would run afoul of this alcohol advice pretty quickly.


Studies about alcohol are often confusing. One might say red wine is good for the heart, while another one says no amount of drinking is safe for one's health.

Now, a new study in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research says those who choose to drink should limit it to three occasions a week, with a max of two drinks per time.

"The minimum risk of low‐level drinking frequency for all‐cause mortality appears to be approximately three occasions weekly," researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis note. "Daily drinking, even at low levels, is detrimental to one's health."

Those who drank four or more times a week, even when keeping it to just a drink or two, had about a 20 percent higher risk of dying during the study period than those studied who drank less.

"It used to seem like having one or two drinks per day was no big deal, and there even have been some studies suggesting it can improve health," said the survey's lead author, Dr. Sarah M. Hartz. "But now we know that even the lightest daily drinkers have an increased mortality risk."

Researchers analyzed two data sets in which people self-reported their alcohol use. The first covered more than 340,000 people who participated in the National Health Interview Survey, and the second examined Veterans Health Administration outpatient medical records for more than 93,000 people. Their health and survival was then tracked for between seven and 10 years.