Tuesday 2 June 2009

Who’s the target?

We’re constantly bombarded with the official “safe drinking” guidelines of “3-4 units a day” for men and “2-3” for women. But you have to wonder exactly who this information is aimed at. Are there actually any people, except perhaps for a few creature-of-habit pensioners, for whom that represents a realistic consumption pattern?

In my experience, people either scarcely drink at all, or their dedication to it is sufficient that they will routinely exceed the guidelines, even if they don’t actually consume more than about 28 units in a week. Remember that even a couple of pints of Holts or Robinson’s bitter is above the daily recommendation. The people who actually stop at one or one and a half don’t tend to drink at all on most days of the week. And if people decided to cut down they would probably not bother at all on some occasions rather than dropping to that level.

So in reality these “guidelines” don’t bear much relation to how people behave in real life, and seem calculated to denormalise as many responsible, moderate drinkers as possible.


  1. I've always thought the limits were plain barmy. Unless you have some sort of medical condition, one pint or one glass of wine isn't going to give you an alcohol buzz, yet this appears to be the 'responsible drinking' we are being guided towards.

    If so, why the need for alcohol in the drink at all? If we are to merely enjoy the taste, breweries may as well produce entirely alcohol free drinks.

    Actually, I'll shut up in case it gives the DoH ideas.

  2. HAs any research been done on the benefits of building up, nay raining your liver of a number of years? And how much of the reasearch is done on mice?


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