Vicky Spratt | Deputy Editor | Friday, 8 January 2016

What Do The New Government Drinking Guidelines Mean For You?

What Do The New Government Drinking Guidelines Mean For You?

The Debrief: Today the Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, has warned that any consumption of alcohol increases the risk of getting cancer

Men, namely Nigel Farage, who like a tipple are furious with the government. Why? Because new guidance from the government has cut the recommended weekly alcohol limit for guys and brought it in line with the recommended limit for women: 14 units per week. These are the first new drinking guidelines to be released for 20 years. 

Today, the Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, has warned that any consumption of alcohol increases the risk of getting cancer. 

She has advised that men drink no more than seven pints of beer a week and issued a very plain warning: there is no safe level of drinking for either sex, any amount of alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing a range of cancers, in particular breast cancer. 

We’ve been warned about the dangers of binge drinking for years but these new guidelines are warning us about the health implications of drinking alcohol in general. 

So what does this announcement mean for you and how much is 14 units a week exactly?

According the Department of Health ‘the number of units in a 250ml glass of wine (large) is 2.8, so you could have 5 per week.’

Why only 14 units?

A spokesperson for the Department of Health told The Debrief that men are now being advised to drink no more than 14 units a week, the same as women, because ‘we now understand the short term harms of drinking, which affect men more than women, as well as the long term harms.’

What exactly is their advice?

The Department of Health told us that ‘for the first time, the guidelines also include advice on 'single episodes of drinking'. To keep the short term health risks low the advice includes:

  • Limit the total amount of alcohol drunk on any one occasion (and you should spread out your drinking over 3 days or more)
  • Drinking more slowly, with food and alternating with water’

So how much is it safe drinking in a single session?

The Department of Health is still looking into whether or not there should be a guideline when it comes to the maximum number of units you should drink on one day or during one session. 

Why should we listen to them?

The Department of Health said ‘people should pay attention to these guidelines because an expert group used the extensive national and international data on health risks and risks to mortality due to different levels and patterns of drinking.’

‘A key point in the report is the estimate of the contribution of alcohol to risk of death. It is the point at which any apparent protective effect of drinking on mortality rate is balanced by an increased risk of death.’

Basically, their guidelines on regular drinking match up to research which shows what sort of impact drinking alcohol can have on your health throughout your lifetime. The risks are present with any level of drinking and increase if you drink more. 

How is this different to before?

In the past studies have suggested that, for instance, a small amount of red wine can have health benefits. These guidelines say that there is 'no justification for health reasons.'

People are saying that Britain, compared to other countries like Denmark, France, Spain and Italy, has some of the toughest guidelines when it comes to drinking. Is this true?

The government spokesperson confirms this, ‘these new guidelines are more robust than other European developed nations, but this is because of the very strong evidence base. It is also the first review of alcohol guidelines in at least a decade.’ 

So there you have it. 

 You might also be interested in:

Booze All Weekend But Nutribullet Through The Week: Meet Generation Offset

Is The Party Over - Are We All Going Sober? 

Half of British Women (And Two Thirds Of Men) Are Drinking Too Much

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Tags: Boozing, Health