The decision whether to drink and, if so, how much to drink is a personal one.
You should consult with your doctor or primary health care provider who can help you understand your personal risk profile and advise you as to whether drinking in moderation can be consistent with your personal health plan.
For people with particular health issues or a family history of certain diseases, the best course of action is to refrain from drinking altogether. In addition, it is clear that:
- Pregnant women should abstain from drinking
- Underage people should not drink.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol should be avoided.
- And no one should drive or operate heavy machinery after drinking.
Many governments throughout the world have published guidelines1 related to alcohol consumption. Links to some of these are listed below.
For example, in the US, the dietary guidelines suggest that: “If alcohol is consumed, it should be in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age.” The US dietary guidelines also advise that “high-risk drinking is the consumption of 4 or more drinks on any day or 8 or more drinks per week for women and 5 or more drinks on any day or 15 or more drinks per week for men.”
In 2016, the United Kingdom’s Chief Medical Officer revised that country’s Low Risk Drinking Guidelines,2 making the recommendations the same for men and women, concluding:
- “To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level it is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.
- “If you regularly drink as much as 14 units per week, it is best to spread your drinking evenly over 3 or more days. If you have one or two heavy drinking episodes a week, you increase your risks of death from long-term illness and from accidents and injuries."
- “The risk of developing a range of health problems increases the more you drink on a regular basis."
- “If you wish to cut down the amount you drink, a good way to help achieve this is to have several drink-free days each week.”
The World Health Organization (WHO), in its 2014 Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health,3 associates the “harmful use” of alcohol with an increased risk of adverse health outcomes. The WHO Report divides these outcomes into the following major categories: neuropsychiatric conditions, gastrointestinal diseases, cancers, intentional injuries, unintentional injuries, cardiovascular diseases, fetal alcohol syndrome, diabetes, and infectious diseases.
EXAMPLES OF GOVERNMENTAL GUIDELINES ON DRINKING & HEALTH
Below are links to guidelines on drinking and health promulgated by the governments of many countries. AB InBev does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external links, and this abbreviated list does not represent all available government resources on the subjects addressed. Rather, these links are provided solely for ease of reference.
Physicians are best situated to provide guidance on your alcohol consumption. They can advise you throughout your life on how your current drinking patterns may impact your health, taking into account the latest medical research, your overall health status, your personal and family medical histories, and your environment, among other factors.
United Kingdom: UK Chief Medical Officers’ Low Risk Drinking Guidelines 2016
A summary of various nations’ guidelines can be found at: http://www.iard.org/policy-tables/drinking-guidelines-general-population/
The World Health Organization has issued a variety of reports on the subject of alcohol and health. They may be accessed here: http://www.who.int/substance_abuse/publications/global_alcohol_report/en/