Government advice on alcohol is eight times above safe levels, say researchers
How much alcohol can you drink each day without causing health problems? It’s far less than governments advise; in fact, their recommendations could be causing countless chronic health problems, a new study suggests.
In the UK, it’s considered safe for men to drink up to four units, and women three units, each day – that’s up to 32g and 24g of alcohol, which is equivalent to around four and three small glasses of wine respectively.
But these recommended amounts are way above safe levels, say researchers from Oxford University, who reckon that people should be drinking no more than half a unit a day – or one small glass of wine every other day.
Anything more than this can cause chronic health problems, such as diabetes, epilepsy and some cancers, they say. They reached their conclusion after studying the lifestyles and health records of the UK population, based on surveys carried out in 2006.
Reducing alcohol intake to just 5g – or half a unit – every day would prevent 4,579 deaths each year from cancers and liver disease.
However, death from heart disease would rise slightly, they say, because higher levels of alcohol above the 5g level do have a protective effect.
(Source: British Medical Journal, 2012; 2: e000957).