New binge-drinking daily limit advice as drinkers are told to have at least two alcohol-free days a week
Drinkers should have at least two alcohol-free days a week and take their weight into account when counting the units they consume, a committee of MPs recommends today.
The official report says that while overall suggested drinking levels should not be raised, the guidance could be updated to include a ‘binge drinking’ daily limit.
The Science and Technology Committee also called for a website to be set up that provides personalised drinking limits based on factors such as weight.
Take a break: Experts warn that abstaining from drink for two days each week could reduce the risk of liver disease and alcoholism (Posed by models)
Current guidelines suggest that men should drink no more than three to four units of alcohol a day and women no more than two to three. The announcement that the guidelines were to be reviewed had prompted speculation they would be made more generous in light of evidence about the benefits of moderate drinking.
However, the committee heard that studies suggesting alcohol is good for the heart are ‘spurious’ and that booze has been implicated in a range of cancers. It said it was ‘sceptical’ about the ‘alleged’ health benefits of alcohol as a basis for daily guidelines, adding ‘it seems likely the same purported health benefits could be gained by a healthy lifestyle’.
But the MPs did recommend adults have at least two alcohol-free days a week after the Royal College of Physicians warned the risk of liver disease, alcohol dependence and serious illness increases if people drink every day.
They also suggested drinkers be given a ‘binge drinking limit’ – the most they should drink daily.
Professor Nick Heather, of charity Alcohol Research UK, suggested this could be set to eight units for men and six for women.
A can of lager or a standard (175ml) glass of wine contains two units, meaning the upper limit for women would be three glasses of wine or three cans of lager.
Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, special adviser on alcohol at the Royal College of Physicians, said: ‘The RCP believes that in addition to quantity, safe alcohol limits must also take into account frequency.
‘There is an increased risk of liver disease for those who drink daily or near-daily compared with those who drink periodically or intermittently.’