U.K. Health Experts Question Wisdom of Setting Daily Drinking Guidelines
Setting recommendations about daily maximum drinking guidelines could backfire by giving consumers the false impression that downing multiple alcoholic drinks each day is healthy behavior, according to a U.K. health expert.
The BBC reported Aug. 1 that Nick Sheron, a University of Southampton researcher and member of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK, said that the daily limits of three to four units of alcohol for men and two to three units for women lacked solid scientific backing and are confusing to the public. He recommended that the U.K. return to the former practice of weekly recommended alcohol consumption limits — 21 units for men and 14 for women.
“The weekly limits were based on robust studies and were set at a level at which alcohol harms outweigh any putative benefit,” said Sheron.
The change was made to daily limits to discourage binge drinking, but the shift in emphasis has brought its own problems.” We are quite concerned about the use of ’daily’ in the message. It implies that you can drink on every day,” said Rachel Seabrook, research manager at the Institute of Alcohol Studies. “There should be an explicit warning against this.”
A spokesperson for the U.K. Department of Health said the guidelines have been developed by experts and are constantly reviewed, and pointed to public-information campaigns designed to explain how the guidelines work.