What is ‘moderate’ or ‘sensible drinking’?
You should be consuming no more than 4 units a day or 3 as a woman of your favourit tipple – buts what a unit?
Official drinking guidelines are issued by governments and public health entities to advise on levels of alcohol consumption considered ‘safe’, ‘responsible,’ or ‘low risk’. They do not apply to those under the legal drinking age or to pregnant women. Those on medication or with a history of illness should consult their general practitioner or specific advice.
It is difficult to lay down strict guidelines as to what constitutes ‘moderate consumption’ – it will depend on your age, size, sex and health, how and when you consume alcohol, as both the speed of consumption and whether you’re eating will effect how alcohol is absorbed by the body.
Guidelines are daily rather than weekly, as you should not ‘save up’ units and drink heavily at the weekends. This has become known as binge drinking. Binge drinking over one or two nights a week can lead to health problems and anti-social behaviour.
Although drinking should be for pleasure rather than for any health benefit, there is consistent medical evidence to show that light to moderate consumption of alcohol may be beneficial to health, especially for men over 40 and post-menopausal women, where the risk of heart attack is higher. Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in the UK, accounting for 4 in every 10 deaths. Almost 2.6 million people are affected by heart and circulatory conditions in the UK, with someone having a heart attack every 2 seconds.
Alcohol has a blood thinning effect that helps prevents the build up of blood clots and bad LDL cholesterol. The ‘blood thinning effect of alcohol lasts for approximately 24 hours, hence the message is to drink little and often. One drink a day is enough to confer the benefit.