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Government Drinking Guidelines

My take on this has been said in the thread already i think.

Knowing how much you drink is important, and not just estimating it but measuring it. Only then can you take a judgement about whether you drink ‘too’ much based on the health benefits, and in that I include mental and social well being.

I have heard that there are calls to ban drinking on the grounds that there is no safe level. But then there is no safe level to living, or driving, or walking down the road. Lets kill that argument first because it doesn’t run.

Everyone takes risks in their life all the time based on their own view. More and better data, and more and better science required so we can take better informed views.

Is this a case that if they say ‘zero’ amount then people will have 1 or 2? As opposed to ‘21 units per week’ people will 28 to Adrian Chiles levels?

I’m with @Herbster on this - This country has seen the effect of the nudging nanny on several things, in particular smoking, seat belts, 5 a day, exercise etc and each nudge in itself has been kicked back against but the social mood music over the decades has caused a huge change. I also think news reports such as the French paradox have taken things waaaaay out of context with red wine being good for you (reported in the daily mail :wink:) omitting agricultural manual labour contributing to active lifestyles and eating a good diet.

Whilst I don’t agree with ‘zero is best’ I do salute the professional health bodies attempting to generally lift the health of a population that often won’t take care of itself.

All this sounds remarkably hypocritical when you see that sweets, chocolate, biscuits etc don’t attract a tax levy outside of VAT, but I hope this comes in somewhere down the line. And I speak as a great lover of jelly babies.


@Nowt_in_my_glass I am by no means against sensible advice being given. I question whether the most recent pronouncements are sensible though.

I also think that the examples you quote are not comparable - smoking, seat belts etc as the first is unequivocally bad, and the second equally unequivocally good. Also, encouraging more fruit and veg is a positive step with nothing to suggest there can be a negative to it.

Drinking wine in relative moderation should not be demonised the way it has been and I make no apology for the general description of ‘health fascism’ in this context. Equally, I hold no candle to the drunken and obese element of our population but fear that many of them will either miss or ignore the message anyway. It is a generational thing.

Where are these calls coming from? I agree with you that this needs to be firmly put down. More of the ‘let’s ban this because I don’t like it’ lobby.

Exactly, and in the social context of the day smoking wasn’t considered harmful and people argued against the bother of putting seatbelts on.

The message as you say can be considered poorly communicated as people may dismiss it as an overreaction by health loons, but the government knows that the drip-drip effect is profound as we’ve seen in what the youth now consider a lifestyle vs a 1960s equivalent


Difference being that I’m not aware that smoking has any benefits, or was ever portrayed as having any. I am all for banning smoking in public places as it unambiguously has negative impacts on others, but would be completely against banning it per se. The taxation of it has also probably reached a point where it is not working.

Never heard the argument about the bother about putting seatbelts on…still not sure it should be compulsory, but in my view you would have to be mad not to. I tend to take a Darwinian view on many such things…:slight_smile:

Well there’s been a marked history of lobby groups doing everything in their power to maintain levels of smoking, drinking, eating poor food, preventing any changes to car manufacturing… Even the clean air act and responsibility for effluent from factories. The nanny state often has to come up against corporate suits, angry farage type characters etc so when considering counter arguments to these health announcements, consider their motives


Ay! There’s the rub! It is difficult, at times, to take drinking guidelines seriously, when you observe that there is no similar debate about sugar, soft drinks and junk food in general. There needs to be a more coherent and holistic approach to health (physical and mental) in this country, because currently all we’re doing is fire-fighting against the consequences.
Nevertheless, one has to salute any government that at least tries to start and sustain a debate. I would struggle to live in a place where there’s a pretence that individual choices don’t have a social impact.


Always would, and as noted I am a pretty direct anti smoker…but am concerned that there are those with similar motives coming in on the other side here, though they will claim some kind of moral high ground.

I still find the Adrian Chiles story astonishing and somewhat depressing…

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It’s this that the nhs should reeeeeally be considering as its primary activity. Currently we are fire fighting against poor life choices as a reactive service. One wonders what the nhs would need as funding if as a population we lived healthier active lifestyles!


Nail on head. Hit…

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Indeed! I see this helpless (and, frankly, hopeless) fire-fighting - with regards to people’s mental health - in my work all the time. It’s depressing.
Rather than being reactive, trying to patch a gashing wound with a plaster, we need to have a serious debate about the roots and causes of the poor mental health many people experience in this country. Then, perhaps, we might be able to invest money and resources to the right places, rather than pretend that it is the NHS’s fault for not ‘fixing’ people.
But that’s another topic altogether…


And so to tday’s News and a further study stating no safe level of drinking.

Two comments. First read the statistician’s comments (Spiegelhalter) at the very end re no safe levels of many things. Second I heard one of the researchers on radio early this morning putting it into perspective by saying that despite their findings the risks are very low at the government’s current recommendations re units. Not that I want to reopen comments about those recommendations but the point of both Spiegelhalter and the researcher are saying pretty much the same thing. Know the facts, more importantly know the risks, and make an informed choice.


Your comments are well made.

I also wonder if the increase of 4 people in 100,000 (from 914 for non drinkers, to 918 for one drink a day) experiencing some form of illness or injury can possibly be statistically significant? Even the increase of 63 for moderate drinkers is hardly headline news. Only further up the curve is there real and significant concern, and we knew that already…

I think that especially for young people, seeing insta lifestyles has hugely changed the milennial generation towards clean eating and healthier lifestyle…maybe at the expense of their relative self esteem and perceived appearance and existential position in the world.

Anyway, it’s friday and a) I’m trying my first quality rose later and b) did you know that 7 people a year die due to cow attacks? #savedbythecowbell


I am going salmon fishing…I may drown, or even (today) be struck by lightning in a hail shower. Probably more chance of that than getting a fish…


Ha! This sounds just like a sentence from a book I’m currently reading, called How to Make Yourself Miserable, by Dan Greenburg. Warmly recommended to all! :grin:


Really good study. Am I reading it right though . Drinking 5 drinks a day means an extra 1252 people out of 100,000 will develop a health problem - 1.25%

So drinking 5 dinks a day increases your health problem risk by 1.25%? That’s quite reassuring considering the other risks we run each day.

good luck - wish I was coming with you :slight_smile:

So on 4th August The Time online run an article, When to say when? Why alcohol advice needs its own health warning. It basically goes through the graphs and concludes moderate drinking is ok, except risk of cancer increases whatever you drink. On the same day an article Booze News saying teetotallers are 50% more likely to develop dementia. Today we’re told there’s no save limit.

Confusing and conflicting.

Maybe the drinkers are dying too young to get dementia. Just a thought.

Drinking is apparently the top killer of young men 18-49, but the cause are fight, accidents and TB. I don’t think many of us will be affected.