The University of Texas at Austin conducted the study of patterns with moderate drinkers; researchers looked at whether they spread out their alcohol consumption, or drank less frequently but in larger amounts.
“Among older moderate drinkers, we found that those who binge have double the odds of dying within the next 20 years compared to those who do not binge,” lead researcher Charles Holahan told HealthDay.
Researchers looked at 446 moderate drinkers, men who drank no more than four alcoholic beverages daily and no more than 14 drinks a week. They also looked at women who had no more than three a day, and no more than seven drinks a week.
The findings showed that 372 participants spread out their drinking evenly and 74 had periods of extensive heavy drinking.
“Heavy episodic drinking concentrates alcohol’s toxicity and is linked to mortality by damaging body organs,” said Holahan. He added in a news release, “These findings demonstrate that, among older adults, drinking patterns need to be addressed along with overall consumption in order to understand alcohol’s health effects.”
The study can be read in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.