UK Guidelines On Alcohol Drinking Scrutinized By Members Of Parliament

UK guidelines on drinking which say men should not regularly drink more than four units of alcohol a day (equivalent to two pints of ordinary strength beer) while women should have no more than three (a large glass of wine).

The same is now under scrutiny by the Commons Science and Technology Committee.
Members of Parliament (MPs) will compare the guidelines with those countries abroad like Italy, France and Spain which are having far more generous limits.

While several countries have similar advice to that of the UK, and a small number set lower limits, many set their risk thresholds far higher.

Government advice here is based on recommendations from a committee of doctors in 1987, which set out weekly limits of 21 units for men, and 14 units for women.

However, one of the members of the Royal College of Physicians’ original working party has admitted the figures were “plucked out of the air” in the absence of any clear evidence about how much alcohol constitutes a risk to health.

A research published earlier this year by the British Medical Journal found that drinking a glass of wine or pint of beer every evening reduces the risk of heart disease by up to a quarter.

Deaths resulting directly from drinking alcohol have doubled in England and Wales since the early 1990s, it has gone up from 3,415 in 1991 to 7,344 in 2008.

In a February report published in the Lancet, it has warned that Britain’s culture of binge-drinking will result in 250,000 extra deaths from liver disease in 20 years, if patterns of behavior do not change.