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Government Drinking Guidelines


Just wondering what, if anything, members make of the national alcohol consumption guidelines? There are so many anomalies.

UK and Australia are the only 2 countries in the world with the same limit for men and women. The UK recommended limit is 14 units per week, the Spanish limit for men is 35 units per week. In USA the limits (I believe) are 1 drink a day for women, 2 drinks for men. And so on.

Personally I go for 2 “dry” days per week and usually between about 10 and 25 units on the other 5. (In total I mean - not per day!)

Anyone have any particular thoughts on the subject?


I’m moving to Spain!

Seriously though, how can they be expected to be taken seriously when there are such wide ranges given, and in practice individuals have very different tolerance levels too. I think that mine is falling a bit now compared to my youth…

I am probably round about the same place as you Andy. 2 sometimes 3 dry days, and total probably in the 15-28 range. On average (per week clearly!). Depends how good the wine and company is.



Think it was Ronald Reagan who said this was the most dangerous sentence in the English language…


For me personally I don’t really look at the guidelines, but factor it more into the calorific content of the wine/beer rather than the units. Usually go by the guideline of everything in moderation as usually you find next month the guidelines change again anyway!


Same here! Alcohol really does make me put on weight, so over the years I’ve learnt to limit it to 3 days a week (works out as 1.5 bottles per week). Obviously, on holidays and/or special occasions I break the 3-day-rule, but for daily life this seems to work really well for me. The anticipation and excitement before each bottle are definitely more palpable for both me and my partner. We both sleep much better on days we don’t drink as well. This might be more age-related, I guess… As you pointed out- guidelines don’t really take into account other factors such as body weight, exercise and general life style and wellbeing choices, so there isn’t really a ‘one (wine?) size fits all’. I agree that moderation is the best ‘guideline’ there is.


That’s the same with us, my wife and I decided to not drink Monday to Thursday, only drink on Friday and the weekend - has worked well so far and you also look forward to wine at the weekend.


Like some of the previous posters here, I try to have 3 alcohol-free days each week, and don’t exactly go mad the other days, but I’m still over the recommended units for women!

But then I look at the cultures in France and Italy where a glass or two of wine almost every day is the norm and forms part of a healthy Mediterranean diet (very much in line with my own diet as I eat very healthily) and I’m not so worried. :blush:


So sounds like many of us are moderate drinkers! I wish we could do the small regular daily drinking of the Med, but I think our lifestyle in Northern Europe isn’t very conducive to that. I suspect that a slower pace of life, coupled with decent and more regular exposure to sunshine are also crucial in the healthier lifestyle of the Med, and perhaps sit better with more regular wine consumption. But that’s just my theory… As a sort of ex-Med person :blush:


The UK government guidelines have no basis in science. The numbers were plucked out of the air. Like others, I attempt to have 2 or 3 alcohol free days per week, but frequently fail. My mother drank 140 units of alcohol every week and lived happily until the age of 86. She did not have her first drink until lunchtime 12:30-1:00 and, when she had a hip replacement, was in hospital for 10 days and never once asked for a drink. She just enjoyed it.
I probably drink 50 units most weeks and sometimes, like Saturday when Scotland beat England at Murrayfield, consume a wee bit more. I don’t take any medication other than red meat and whisky.


Not only was that admitted by the chair of the original commitee, but the recent commitee that has lowered the ‘recommend’ figures is dominated by members of an organisation dedicated to total abstinance.

Revealed in this Spectator article:


Thanks @peterm, I never saw that artyicle. I will keep it for future use.:champagne::wine_glass:


You should try reading The Good News About Booze by Tony Edwards - all the positive studies and things the Government doesn’t want you to know!!


I need to read this then, as all I’ve heard is red wine is beneficial to men over 40 but does sod all good for women… I’m hoping there’s some factual evidence in there to state otherwise :wink:


The book @Karen is referring to … and interestingly enough, people who purchased this book also purchased the following…:rofl::rofl:


If you want to know why UK guidelines are so out of synch with the rest of the world, take a read of this very illuminating article by Martin Green in the trade publication “Drinks Retailing” at: http://drinksretailingnews.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/17333/Trickery_revealed.html
Basically there is an anti-alcohol bias at Public Health England some of whom will not be happy until it is banned entirely.


As a man approaching 40 with many bottles of red wine in members’ reserves, this is wonderful news.


Haha. Must of missed that - I don’t have that book… yet!


Really interesting discussion (some fascinating reading being posted here too - might send that booze book to my Kindle!) and it led me to research how the UK’s guidelines compare with the rest of the world:

I have a sudden urge to move to the Basque country:

Basque country: Things are a bit more liberal here, with guidance urging people not to drink more than 70g per day – that’s seven drinks or 8.75 units (if a standard drink is 10g of alcohol).



I’ve always thought the Basques needed a bigger voice in the world!


At the risk of bringing some down…
Bias and conflicts of interest aside (including your own), here is some access to facts. You may say the trust will have a bias, but these are facts that may make them biased and they are referenced. Guidelines will always cause controversy because these are for populations and are guidance. Other factors are at play too that can influence the effect of alcohol on individuals; medication, obesity, coexisting conditions etc


The guidance still allows you to enjoy yourself, but at the end of the day it is for individuals to make an informed choice based on facts and guidance to help.
Just don’t end up being a statistic.