Saturday, 28 January 2012

Little and often?

A House of Commons committee recently recommended that people should have at least two alcohol-free days a week (I wonder how many MPs abide by that). So I thought I would ask readers whether two heavy weekend sessions would be better than drinking a modest amount every day. I deliberately chose 14 pints as it is a little above the official government guidelines, but still within the 21-30 weekly units range which the research on which the guidelines were based actually said was associated with the best health outcomes.

And the results were quite clear, with 48 out of 59 respondents, more than four-fifths, reckoning that, overall, two pints a day would be better. In reality, I doubt whether there would be much difference, but drinking seven pints might result in a marginal increase in the likelihood of stroke or heart attack, not to mention the risk of banging your head or being knocked down when crossing the road.

I am not a scientist, but gut feeling strongly suggests that the “little and often” approach is likely to be kinder to your body in the long run. Drinkers who survive into great old age generally seem to adopt a regular routine of modest imbibing. And, while it might theoretically be better for you, I can’t really believe that three pints five days a week is going to make any difference compared with two seven days a week.

However, as I said here, present-day social mores tend to militate against that kind of regular drinking:
The office worker who ostentatiously sips bottled water during the day, but then goes out and has ten pints of Stella on Friday night, is regarded much more positively than his colleague who has a couple of pints of bitter in the pub round the corner each lunchtime. “Work hard and play hard”, not “moderation in all things”, is the motto for our times.


  1. MPs should close down the pubs on Fridays and Saturdays altogether and force people to abide by the recommended maximum per week. Sundays should be limited hours since Monday is a work day and people cannot afford to be hung over. Monday through Thursday, people have work the following day and will most likewise not overconsume. Government pricing mandates should be established making it costly for anyone attempting to drink beyond the weekly limit. This would solve the problem of people who drink too much and too often and ease societal cost to our overburdened NHS. If that does not solve the problem, then drinking should be banned based on a similar programme as is the already proven successful smoking ban.

  2. To be quite honest,be it ,2 pints a day seven days a week
    or a skinfull on Fridays and Saturdays,anyone frequenting the
    dying sterile pubs must be single
    loners or severely depressed.
    A Camra friend of mine,a pathological anti smoker,says he has kicked the pubs near him into touch, because they are dead,lifeless, not worth wasting money in.He was a 7 night a weeker ,4-5 pints a night,untill
    Tap Room with Air raid Curtains

  3. Government might also consider banning live entertainment in pubs as that would help continue progressing us into a culture of heatlhy living. Having entertainment only entices patrons into lingering longer than they should be. Thus, putting a stop to live entertainment would lessen the amount of intake amongst drinkers and have a positive progressive benefit, something to which we can all agree.

  4. It's down to the individual. What works for one won't work for all, so one-size-fits-all proclamations are meaningless and pointless.

    What a HoC committee thinks re private citizens' alcohol intake is also irrelevant (or at least it should be), because the state has no business interfering in its employers' personal lives. Or at least it shouldn't in a free country. Expect the "suggestions" to become requirements in time.

    P.S. The depressing thing is that Anon's satire isn't satire to a lot of people. It's what they 'think'.


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