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Pregnant women should not drink at all now...
The recommended alcohol consumption quotas for men, women and pregnant women in the UK have just been changed after the first official investigation into drinking habits in more than 20 years.
Brits have been told to slash their alcohol intake with new advice saying men and women should now drink the same amount (14 units) and do so over the course of a week, instead of boozing daily. 14 units equates to around six pints of beer or seven glasses of wine. Pregnant women are now advised to abstain from drinking alcohol entirely.
The new weekly drinking advice from Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Office for England, attempts to discourage people from drinking each day. Prior to the changes, the maximum amount of alcohol units women could consume was 21 a week, or 3 per day (about the same as a daily 175ml glass of wine). Men were previously told to drink up to 28 units a week, or 4 per day (which roughly equates to a pint of beer, cider or lager).
We’ve also been told not to ‘save up’ units – so it’s a good job we’re all partied out for now then…
Critics of Dame Sally’s changes have pointed out that in general, Brits have been told to drink a lot less than their European counterparts. The Guardian reports that in Spain and Ireland, men can knock back over 20 units per week and the French have no official guidelines for anyone. On the other hand, women in the US are told to drink around 10 units a week.
Investigations into our boozing habits started in 2013 after the government expressed concerns that the current guidelines were too lenient and complicated. The original guidelines were put together in 1987, and only updated in 1995 – since then, several studies have proved that even drinking moderately can increase the risk of some cancers in men and women.
Speaking to the BBC, Elaine Hindal, chief executive of alcohol education charity Drinkaware said: ‘Our research suggests that aside from the well-known impacts on the liver, broader alcohol-related health risks such as hypertension, heart disease and some types of cancer, are not commonly understood by many people.’
This is backed up from stats from charity Alcohol Concern which reveal that an estimated 7 million people in the UK are unaware of the detrimental effect drinking too much alcohol can have on their bodies.
Sticking to dry January has just got a whole lot easier.