The study of 600,000 drinkers estimated that having 10 to 15 alcoholic drinks every week could shorten a person’s life by between one and two years.
And they warned that people who drink more than 18 drinks a week could lose four to five years of their lives.
The 2016 UK guidelines recommend no more than 14 units a week, which is six pints of beer or seven glasses of wine.
Authors of the Lancet study said their findings backed up the new guidelines and also said they did not find an increased risk of death for light drinkers.
Scientists, who compared the health and drinking habits of alcohol drinkers in 19 countries, modelled how much life a person could expect to lose if they drank the same way for the rest of their lives from the age of 40.
They found people who drank the equivalent of about five to 10 drinks a week could shorten their lives by up to six months.
The study’s authors also found drinking increased the risk of cardiovascular illness, with every 12.5 units of alcohol people drank above the guidelines raising the risk of:
- Stroke by 14%
- Fatal hypertensive disease by 24%
- Heart failure by 9%
- Fatal aortic aneurysm by 15%