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.
“Lower back pain is like death and taxes; everybody gets it at some point,” says out Sean Mackey, MD, PhD, chief of the division of pain medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. About 9 in 10 of those patients recover fairly quickly, he says, but for the remainder, the pain becomes chronic and life-altering. (Try this 60-second fix for back pain.) “The severity of the original injury and how prone you are to anxiety plays a role in whether your pain will persist,” he says. Physical therapy focused on core strengthening is one of the most effective treatments.
Use a foam roller to roll away your back pain:
Your immune system likely needs a holiday boost, and you are the only one who can do it. (Things like stress, foods high in saturated fat, alcohol, and skipping exercise can all weaken this key part of the body that helps fight off infection and keep you healthy.) Put yourself at the top of your holiday checklist and give yourself this gift of health.
First, take this oath:
- I will avoid colds and flu;
- I will sleep at least 7.5 hours a night, and preferably eight;
- I will eat well (meaning more vegetables and fruits and fewer processed foods)
- I will set aside a sacred 20 minutes for exercise every day;
- I will seek out positive social interactions.
So help me, health.
You’ve heard every one of the bullets points above, probably multiple times, and you may be anesthetized to them. But here is why actually committing to those resolutions is so important.
Our immune systems are the basis of our health, which of course plays a big role when it comes to our overall wellness and happiness. The immune system’s complex network of organs, cells, and molecules protects us from anything foreign and potentially harmful, such as viruses, bacteria, cancer cells, toxic chemicals, and more. Through a process called the immune response, this system attacks invading organisms and substances as they enter the body and work to inflict disease. Especially important are the white blood cells produced and stored in the spleen, bone marrow, and other sites. They circulate through the body and spring into action to destroy potentially harmful foreign invaders — and then remember those invaders so they can guard against them in the future.
So it seems especially important to make sure your immune system is in top condition, as cold- and flu-season ramps up and the holidays put extra stress on our bodies (thanks to the social events, to-do lists, and potentially not-so-healthy indulgences that can come with the festivities). Paying a little extra attention can help keep you well now. And in the long run, you’ll begin a regimen that will help guard against chronic problems like diabetes, obesity, heart disease and hypertension, and even cancer.
Here’s how to keep your immune system running smoothly over the holidays — and all year long!