New guidelines have been released around “safe” alcohol consumption for Australians – and in a surprising move, they allow for double the amount of standard drinks than the previous guidelines.
For the last decade, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has recommended having no more than two standard drinks per day.
A standard drink is 100ml of wine, so there’s every chance that the healthy glass of wine you pour at home knocks this over at once.
Recently the standards have been revised and actually doubled – to four standard drinks per day.
If you’re wondering why our national health council would endorse a greater amount of alcohol consumption – or perhaps you’re thinking their research was paid for by a beer distillery! – then the second part of their recommendation may make more sense.
It has reduced the maximum number of recommended drinks per week, down from 14 standard drinks (or two per day) to just 10 over the week.
“We’re not telling Australians how much to drink, we’re providing advice about the health risks from drinking alcohol so that we can all make informed decisions in our daily lives,” said Professor Anne Kelso, chief executive of the council.
“This advice has been developed over the past three years using the best health evidence available.”
Overall, it pays to keep in mind that these recommendations are just that – recommendations.
Realistically, there is no safe amount of alcohol to consume. In Australia we have glamourised and normalised boozing to the point that we celebrate it, but it’s not a healthy past-time in any way, shape or form.
It causes cancer. It makes us bloated, dehydrated and fat. It’s loaded with calories and has no nutritional benefits whatsoever.
I say this as someone who thoroughly enjoys a wine (or five) on a Friday night: as we begin this new year and wave goodbye to the alcohol-fuelled silly season, these new guidelines might prompt us to take personal stock of our drinking habits?
Trading out that vodka lime and soda for a simple lime and soda could be a winner – any maybe even help you meet that weight-loss goal you’ve likely set for the new year.