UK Imposes More Stringent Guidelines for Alcohol Consumption

Jan 12, 2016 08:33 AM EST | By Beverly Abad

If you think you had too much to drink during the holidays, you're probably right, if the new UK alcohol guidelines are anything to go by.

With its timing coinciding with most individuals' vow of healthier lifestyles, the UK government declared that there is "no safe level of alcohol consumption", and that no one should drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week. 14 units is the equivalent of approximately five pints of beer with 5% ABV strength, six small glasses of wineat 13 percent alcohol by volume, or 14 glasses of 80 proof spirits.

Also noted is the government's suggestion that whatever amount of alcohol consumption a person has each week should be spread out. If you are pregnant, or are planning pregnancy, the safest option is not to drink alcohol at all. This is to keep the risks to your baby to a minimum.

Compared to US guidelines, women should not exceed one standard drink per day and men should not go over two drinks. That roughly equates to 12 units a week for women and a little over 24 for men.

The UK government website also states that although previous research has indicated that small doses of alcohol can help protect the heart, it is only applicable to women aged 55 and over. This translates to bad news for those who down a few glasses of red wine to keep their hearts healthy.

The old unit guidelines have not been reviewed since 1995, and medical experts say they have been looking at evidences all over the world to come up with the new ones. New research suggests that overall health risks for men and women are practically the same.

UK now joins Australia in being one of the few countries that have the same alcohol intake limit for men and women, along with Netherlands, Albania, Guyana and Grenada. 

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