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The Worst Drinking Habit for Fatal Liver Disease, New Study Finds

You may want to cut back on this drink.
FACT CHECKED BY Kristen Warfield

If you've been wondering whether or not you should give up drinking a few glasses of wine every night, then you may, indeed, want to cut back.

That's because a new study has come out with some seriously concerning findings of alcohol and fatal liver disease.

Data that was recently published in the American Journal of Medicine showed that deaths related to liver disease increased dramatically between 1999 and 2019. Deaths rose from 6,007 deaths from alcoholic cirrhosis from a group of 180,408,769 individuals who were above 25 years old to 23,780 deaths among 224,981,167 people the same age. The study concluded that these are "alarming trends in mortality from alcoholic cirrhosis in the United States…"

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"The hypothesis is that people are drinking more and starting earlier in life," said lead researcher Dr. Charles Hennekens, via Merck Manual. Hennekens explained that, combined with other unhealthy habits, this "leads to fatty liver."

"These study findings are not surprising and are in line with what the medical community discusses with patients that consume alcohol," Amanda Lane, MS, RD, CDCES, and founder of Healthful Lane Nutrition, tells Eat This, Not That!.

While explaining alcohol's effect on the liver, Lane says that due to the fact that "alcohol is first processed in the liver," "excess alcohol intake puts strain" on the organ. Beyond that, Lane notes that "younger drinkers tend to prefer sweeter mixed drinks that are loaded with extra sugar," and "excessive carbohydrate intake is linked to fatty liver."

As for the suggestion from Hennekens that people are potentially drinking more and at a younger age, Lane points out that "heavy drinking is identified as two or more drinks for women and three or more drinks for men," while "excessive alcohol intake is defined, by the CDC, as eight or more drinks for women and 15 or more drinks for men, per week."

She also confirms that "it is not uncommon for people to start drinking in their later teens, high school, or when starting college."

To find out more about how excessive drinking can be bad for your body, be sure to read 41 Ways Alcohol Ruins Your Health.

Desirée O
Desirée O is a freelance writer who covers lifestyle, food, and nutrition news among other topics. Read more about Desirée