Official alcohol guidelines”Plucked out of the air”

drunk girl sleeping on bed

Official alcohol guidelines that were”plucked out of the air” wrongly suggest we can drink almost daily with no ill effects doctors have said.

They have been set too high and fail to take into account evidence that shows drinking only modest amounts raise the risk of cancer and other diseases, they say.

The issue is investigated in a three-part documentary into British government guidelines on alcohol, diet and exercise starting today on BBC Radio 4.

The current guidelines recommend that men should limit themselves to “three to four units” a day, which the NHS likens to “not much more than a pint of strong lager” and women not to drink more than”two to three units “a day, equivalent to”no more than a standard 175ml glass of wine”.

Research published last year suggests consumption should be much lower perhaps only a quarter of a pint of beer daily.

Dr. Michael Mosley’s research for the documentary found the guidelines were based on limited data on the harmful effects of low to moderate level drinking. They were formulated in 1987 by a Royal College of Physicians working party.

In 2007, Richard Smith, one of the members of the group and a former editor of the ‘British Medical Journal’ said it could not say what a safe limit was because of this lack of data.

“These limits were really plucked out of the air”, he said.  “They were not based on any real evidence at all”

The British government had “presented these guidelines as if they were about health, but they are not”. “They are more about behaviour, trying to stop you going out and crashing the car or fighting” he said.

A Harvard University study published in the “Journal of the American Medical Association in 2011, found that women who drank only four small glasses of wine a week – about five units-increased their risk of developing breast cancer by 15% compared with non-drinkers.

Another 2011 study estimated that alcohol caused 13,000 cancers a year, including 6,000 of the mouth and throat, 3,000 bowel cancer cases and 2,500 cases of breast cancer.

Last May, scientists published research recommending that people should cut consumption to 50ml of wine a day, or quarter of a pint of beer.

Daily Telegraph, London.

6 Surprising Ways Alcohol Affects Your Health

Some of the ways alcohol affects our health are well known, but others may surprise you. Here are six less-known effects that alcohol has on your body, according to gastroenterologist K. V. Narayanan Menon, MD:

  1. Drinking gives your body work to do that keeps it from other processes. Once you take a drink, your body makes metabolizing it a priority — above processing anything else. Unlike proteins, carbohydrates and fats, your body doesn’t have a way to store alcohol, so it has to move to the front of the metabolizing line. This is why it affects your liver, as it’s your liver’s job to detoxify and remove alcohol from your blood.
  2. Abusing alcohol causes bacteria to grow in your gut, which can eventually migrate through the intestinal wall and into the liver, leading to liver damage.
  3. Too much is bad for your heart. It can cause the heart to become weak (cardiomyopathy) and have an irregular beat pattern (arrhythmias). It also puts people at higher risk for developing high blood pressure.
  4. People can develop pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, from alcohol abuse.
  5. Drinking too much puts you at risk for some cancers, such as cancer of the mouth, esophagus, throat, liver and breast.
  6. It can affect your immune system. If you drink every day, or almost every day, you might notice that you catch colds, flu or other illnesses more frequently than people who don’t drink. This is because alcohol can weaken the immune system and make the body more susceptible to infections.

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The BEST and WORST foods for IBS suffers: