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Binge drinkers raise heart disease danger

Binge drinkers could have a higher risk of heart disease, new research suggests.

Downing lots of alcohol in just one or two sittings has a worse effect than drinking more steadily over the course of a week, according to a study.

Experts compared the drinking habits of almost 10,000 men in France and Ireland and found the overall amount of alcohol they consumed in a week was the same.

However, those in Belfast were far more likely to be binge drinkers than men in France, who drank less alcohol in each sitting but drank more regularly.

More than half of drinkers in Ireland were regular drinkers compared with most drinkers in France (51pc compared with 90pc).

Some 9pc of Irish men were binge drinkers, mostly on a weekend, compared with just 0.5pc of those in France. Meanwhile, three-quarters (75pc) of French men drank daily compared with 12pc in Belfast.

When studying the chance of heart attack and death from heart disease, the authors found that binge drinking doubled the risk in comparison to regular drinking.


Binge drinking was defined as consuming at least 50g of alcohol on at least one day per week.

Meanwhile, regular drinking was drinking alcohol on at least one day a week, and, if drinking on only one occasion, consuming less than 50g of alcohol.

The authors, writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), said: "Consuming a high quantity of alcohol on each drinking occasion, which characterises binge drinking, was particularly prevalent in Belfast and could contribute to the higher risk of ischaemic heart disease observed there."

Men who never drank at all appeared to have an increased risk of heart disease compared with those who drank regularly, although the numbers were small and more research is needed.

The authors were led by a team at Toulouse University.