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UK medical chief ‘to lower alcohol guidelines’

UK medical chief ‘to lower alcohol guidelines’


Source: the drinks business

by Neal Baker

9th November, 2015


The UK chief medical officer will recommend a “significant” lowering of the safe alcohol consumption guidelines, according to reports.


Dame Sally Davies will call on the department of health to drop the alcohol consumption limit to potentially around 10 units of alcohol or just three strong pints of beer per week, sources have told The Sunday Times.


That would be a huge drop from the current guidelines that have been in place since 1995. They recommend women drink no more than three units – or an average-sized glass of wine – per day, and men should have no more than four units per day.


Women are also expected to be told not to drink alcohol at any point during pregnancy or while trying to conceive, and that doing so could cause brain damage to the baby.


“They are going to drop the guidelines significantly,” a source close to the policy discussions told the newspaper. “Those guidelines were produced in 1995. The realisation of the link between alcohol and cancer will come into play.”


The source refers to studies that have found even nominal amounts of alcohol can be linked to increased mortality risks. “There was a study which shows that increased mortality risk starts to take off, very gently, above 10g of alcohol a day,” they said, “so even at about 10 units [80g of alcohol] a week you are starting to get an increased risk.”


It is understood that the new guidelines have already been completed, but it is not yet known when they will be made public.