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Think you know how much alcohol you can safely drink? Think again.

A big English-led study using data from around 600,000 drinkers from 19 countries has made new recommendations on safe drinking levels. It’s a game-changer for two reasons.

The first is that it challenges our idea of ‘moderate drinking’. This study concluded that the threshold for low-risk drinking is 100 g per week or less, which is below the guideline set in many countries.

The researchers found an increase in all causes of death above that amount. This included a greater risk of stroke, aortic aneurism, fatal hypertensive disease (i.e. death due to high blood pressure) and heart failure. 

The second reason this study will upturn our thinking about alcohol is that it quashes the idea that men can safely drink more than women because of their size. The 100 g limit applies to both genders.

It’s worth measuring out what 100 g looks like, because most of us wouldn’t have a clue. A ‘standard drink’ in Australia is 10g or 100 ml of wine, so there are 7.5 standard drinks in a 750 ml bottle.

In the UK, 100 g is equivalent to 5-6 pints of beer or (their) standard glasses of wine. 

This is such a big study that it could well lead to a number of countries rewriting their alcohol guidelines. That includes Australia. Ours were developed in 2009 and are currently being revised. 

Photo source: Bigstock

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Saturday, May 26, 2018 | Rhonda Anderson