Consuming just one large serving of spirits could increase the risk of acute pancreatitis, but wine or beer does not appear to have the same effect, according to a new study.
To come to the conclusion, the researchers followed 84,601 people from 46 to 84 years of age from the general population in Vastmanland and Uppsala for a median of ten years.
During that time 513 developed acute pancreatitis.
"Our study revealed a steady increase between each measure of spirits a person drank on one occasion and the risk of having an acute attack of pancreatitis, starting at just under ten per cent for one 4cl drink" stated lead author Dr Omid Sadr-Azodi.
"For example, drinking 20cl of spirits - five standard Swedish measures - on a single occasion increased the risk of an acute episode by 52 per cent and the risk then continued to increase at that rate for every five additional units consumed.
"But drinking more than five 15cl glasses of wine or five 33cl beers on one occasion did not increase the risk.
"We also discovered that the average monthly consumption of alcohol did not increase the risk," he added.
The findings were published online by BJS, the British Journal of Surgery.