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Government Drinking Guidelines

Well, I did find that rather gloomy actually.
One of the things about “facts” nowadays is that they often seem not to be facts at all, but merely opinions presented as facts, and reliable facts seem to be increasingly hard to find in the “fake news” era.
Even if I accept something as fact, e.g. “liver disease kills more people than diabetes and road deaths combined”, which I have no particular reason to doubt, what am I to do with this fact? I can’t see any useful way to interpret it.
That leads on to guidance and I suppose my original concern about the enormous variations in guidelines coming from different national bodies. You might perhaps do as well to rely on your own empirical evidence.
And sadly I fear we will all become a statistic one day, even if it’s one of the number of people who die peacefully in their sleep at 125 years old.

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It is back on the agenda:

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I think I read that as the guidelines were a guess in the first place, and they wanted to bring them in line for men and women (for simplicity) they couldn’t tolerate the idea of increasing the number of units for women so just lowered the men’s total to match the women. Science huh😏


Useful stats - hard facts! I didn’t see all of the Adrian Chiles piece but did register that though his blood tests were normal, another test of the liver itself showed abnormalities. Is that a test available on NHS on request (ha, ha probably not) or is it something you have either got to wait for when symptoms appear or go private?

Horrified, he horrifies most people…


"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, "


You can get liver function tests (in fact most biomedical tests) done privately these days, just send a sample and get your results, or even order a home kit. Not sure how good your interpretation of results is but assume that’s part of the service!

Thanks. Just read a bit more about the Adrian Chiles piece. Good lord, he was talking about a 100 units a week!! And didn’t consider himself dependent. Wow, must have the constitution of a whole herd of Oxes.


Never stuck me as the sharpest knife in the drawer, but that is just delusional.
Mind you he also mentions some mental health issues which can be pretty bad.


I seem to remember that in my early working days in Fleet Street in the sixties, that six pints at lunchtime was not out of the ordinary and then weekends I can certainly remember with no ill effects sinking six to eight pints along with everyone else at Sunday lunch time, never saw anyone making a prat of themselves either like the current Saturday night crowd.
When the east end pubs started to put on entertainment, Kathy Kirby era, to save the saga of getting rounds in we would buy crates of ale and stack them in the corner.
I don’t think units had been mentioned in that age and I don’t remember anyone hectoring to anyone you drink to much, another time another world.


I personally don’t really follow a guide in terms of units of alcohol/saturated fats/exercise etc as the goal posts always move. For me its all in moderation, if you enjoy a beer or wine every now and then and perhaps once or twice you drink slightly more at a dinner party than usual I think its ok.

Its when you get in from work and immediately open a bottle of wine or a beer as soon as you get in it becomes an issue. Everything in moderation, it also means that when you do open something special it is a bit more special than just something you usually have every day - more of an occasion.

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Moderation. and if you want a splurge very, very occasionally that’s ok.
I don’t believe any of the published guidelines, be they for diet -they change every January 1st, alcohol, just apply common sense, butter- it’s poison one year and beneficial the next, multi-vit’s good/ bad, the “experts” cannot make their mind up and so it goes.
What most studies don’t tell you is who commissioned the research because numbers can be skewed to prove virtually anything!?!
My Mum lived to 93 drinking no alcohol, lots of vegetables and some meat/fish.
One friend got to the same(ish) age with plenty of alcohol and 2 eggs every morning.
My opinion, don’t overdo any facet of your lifestyle and if you won the “gene lottery” you will be fine!


The surprising thing from the Childs interview I read was that he didn’t think he was a suitable candidate for the programme as he was only a social drinker. He was surprised that drinking beer everyday from 6 to closing might be excessive. I know how the city and other “working” environments have changed, but the man’s a journalist on daytime telly, doesn’t he read the news?

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On the drinking guidelines, I too read the reports about the make up of the committee recommending the guidelines. They were a predominately prohibition favouring bunch and actively refused to take into account any positive data.

I also looked at the stats as far as I could. All the graphs I’ve seen show an advantage in drinking a little. Commonly referred to as the J curve. There’s a new piece in the times “when to say when”, but the paywall stops me posting a link. Everything except cancer you are better off having a little to drink than being teetotal. Even cancer there’s a debate, for instance oral cancer is a high risk for those who drink and smoke. Also there’s the issue of health care access. It is too complex and only ever a case of balancing risk. I’m not sure worrying about it too much won’t increase my stress levels.

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It’s a good example of mission creep. If you start early and drink slowly, you can get through a bottle of wine in an evening without feeling too sozzled. In which case, hey, let’s open another tonight, etc. A bottle a night, plus extras at the weekend and BAM: 100 units a week.

Looking for a jaundiced emoji …

…wait a minute, they’re all jaundiced: :open_mouth:


Anyone interested in the underlying science (rather than spin) should take a look at the paper published in the Lancet a few months ago, by Wood et. al., which is a huge overview of 83 separate studies.

Lancet paper

Incidentally, there is a large appendix which carries almost as much information as the main text.

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I think you’d want a drink after wading through that detail… :wine_glass:



There’s some absolutely fascinating stuff in there, for anyone prepared to put in intellectual legwork. For example, not all forms of alcohol have the same effect - beneficial effects of alcohol need fairly regular drinks to be effective - binge drinking (20+ units in one session) is worse than 20 units over the week etc. etc.

Govt. guidelines are issued on the basis of population averages, but within that population there is a wealth of detail, on both the positive and negative side.


I admit to being somewhat flippant! It’s obviously a fully researched and correct scientific analysis of previous studies. I think the problem is, as always, with the interpretation. I feel OK reading through it and pulling out the gist of their analysis, but it does get complex when it gets to comparing illness and causes of death; linking that to what people are reporting as drinking is a minefield.

However, the good news lies in this sentence:
“Exploratory analyses suggested that drinkers of beer or spirits, as well as binge drinkers, had the highest risk for all-cause mortality”

A thumbs up for wine drinking then? Or at least, not a thumbs-down, when done in moderation, of course!


Yes, there is a basis for that -

Obviously other factors also apply as well.

(Click on the graphic if it isn’t clear enough.)

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