New alcohol advice issued by UK Chief Medical Officers

New guidelines on the consumption of alcohol have been issued by the chief medical officers in the UK, for the first time in over 20 years.1

The expert group has updated the existing guidelines which had stood since 1995, with three areas in particular seeing significant changes. These are surrounding regular drinking, single drinking sessions and drinking while pregnant.

The new advice recommends both men and women drink no more than 14 units per week (roughly a bottle and a half of wine, or five strong pints of beer) which is a reduction of 7 units a week for men.

In addition to this, people who do drink on a regular basis are advised to spread their intake out across the week rather than 'save up' their units to drink all on one day - and also to have at least two or three alcohol-free days each week.

The guidelines also suggest that you shouldn't drink any alcohol at all if you find out you are pregnant, which minimises any risk to the baby.

The guidelines have been altered for a number of reasons, including a change in medical opinion over the healthy heart benefits to alcohol, an updated understanding of the impact of alcohol in cancer development, and to cover the short-term risks of alcohol, such as accidents.

Reference:

1 Department of Health. UK Chief Medical Officers' Alcohol Guidelines Review - Summary of the proposed new guidelines (PDF, 558kb). January 2016

Headlines:

Alcohol limits cut to reduce health risks. BBC News, January 8 2016

New alcohol guidelines: What you need to know. BBC News, January 8 2016

Tough drinking guidelines not scaremongering, says chief medical officer. The Guardian, January 8 2016

Cancer risk 'increased' by drinking more than one glass of wine or pint of beer per day, experts warn. The Independent, January 8 2016

Three pints of beer a night considered for 'binge drink' limit. The Daily Telegraph, January 8 2016

Just ONE drink a day is too much: Health chiefs attacked over 'nanny state' alcohol guide that says a single glass of wine a day raises cancer risk. Mail Online, January 8 2016