Just how much alcohol do Brits drink anyway? Legislators call for two non-alcohol days each week

Wednesday, January 11, 2012 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: alcohol, consumption, UK

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(NaturalNews) Alcohol consumption patterns in the UK are apparently out of control, as certain members of parliament (MPs) have suggested new drinking guidelines for the nation. Citing dated standards last updated in the 1990s that suggest daily drinking maximums. Members of the House of Commons science and technology committee say that Brits should now take two days off a week from alcohol in order to maintain their health.

There are differing opinions about alcohol and whether or not it may provide certain health benefits when consumed in moderation. UK alcohol policy has morphed throughout the past 20 years to reflect these changing opinions, swinging from a maximum weekly intake recommendation in the 1980s to a maximum daily intake recommendation in the 1990s. The 1990s, of course, were when studies began to emerge suggesting that drinking a little bit of alcohol every day promotes good health.

But because so many Brits are now developing chronic illness or dying, which some experts blame on excessive alcohol consumption, some of those in charge want alcohol consumption guidelines to including drinking "holidays," where members of the public take a break from drinking a few days every week.

"It is vital that [guidelines] are up to date and that people know how to use them," said Andrew Miller, chairman of the committee, in support of its recommendations. There are actually efforts underway to expand alcohol consumption recommendations rather than curb them, which Miller and his allies believe is dangerous.

"While we urge the UK health departments to re-evaluate the guidelines more thoroughly, the evidence we received suggests that the guidelines should not be increased and that people should be advised to take at least two drink-free days a week."

Both the committee and the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) believe that current guidelines fail to advise people on healthy frequency and quantity of alcohol consumption, as they only cover general consumption maximums. Spreading out alcohol consumption and avoiding "binge" drinking, they say, will help to protect against liver disease.

RCP special advisor on alcohol Sir Ian Gilmore also added that in addition to 10,000 fewer deaths, setting a minimum alcohol unit price in addition to altered guidelines will reduce hospital admission by 100,000 every year, and also lead to 10,000 fewer violent crimes every year.

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