UK Releases New Alcohol Safety Guidelines. Here’s What You Need To Know.
With the over-indulgent holiday season behind us – and, for many, dry (or at least drier!) January halfway thru, the UK’s chief medical officers have released new alcohol guidelines that will (or at least should!) have many cutting back.
Why? Because new studies suggest that any amount of alcohol consumption can increase the risk of cancer.
How Much Alcohol Is Too Much?
In brief, the new guidelines suggest that both men and women should regularly drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week.
But before you celebrate this as a victory for you 2-glasses-of-wine-per-night readers, “a unit” does not equal “a drink.”
Rather, a 175ml glass of wine is equal to 2 units. Or 14 units of alcohol per week is the equivalent of approximately six small glasses of wine (not the massive ones you get at most restaurants these days) or five pints of beer at 5% ABV strength.
They also suggest that you both spread your consumption of alcohol out over the week (don’t save all your “units” for Saturday night) and have at least a couple of alcohol-free nights per week.
Unlike in years past, these guidelines are also the same for both men and women (unusual for most countries), riding the coattails of new studies which show that both genders suffer similar overall health risks.
And no, this isn’t because they’re just looking to cut back on your good times… rather, new studies show that even the benefits of heart healthy red wine are outweighed by the consequences on your health for the vast majority of people.
If this weren’t clear, pregnant women should not drink at all.
While this is a vast departure for guidelines for men in the U.S. (current recommendations are for 2 drinks per day or 24 units per week), it’s not all that different from current U.S. guidelines for women (no more than 1 drink per day or 12 units per week).