A study of 12,000 middle-aged, male doctors led by Sir Richard Doll and a team at the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, found that the lowest mortality rates – lower even than teetotallers – were among those drinking between 20 and 30 units* of alcohol each week.
Furthermore, the study found that to reach the death risk experienced by alcohol abstainers, a man would have to consume 63 units per week. That’s equivalent to drinking about a bottle of wine or five shots of whiskey each day.
The fact that alcohol consumption guidelines are arbitrary is demonstrated by the wide variance in maximum limits recommended around the world. For example Poland’s recommended limit is 12.5 units per week whereas Australia’s is 35. (Source)
Indeed, much research finds better health and greater longevity associated with drinking above the recommended guidelines published by most countries.
*A unit of alcohol in the U.K is eight grams of pure alcohol.