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Are Americans Drinking Too Much? Yes, Says the UK

Jan. 13, 2016
New guidelines recommend men and women drink the same amount per week.

Our neighbors across the pond released new alcohol intake guidelines that suggest limits lower than what is followed in the U.S.

The UK Chief Medical Officers recommend men and women not drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week. That’s about six glasses of wine and a little less than five pints of beer.

In the U.S., the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends women not have more than one drink per day and men not more than two, or just over four pints per week and just less than nine pints, respectively.

The new guidelines are the first updates in 20 years for the U.K., which previously set the weekly allowance for men at 21 units.

The big change comes from new research linking alcohol consumption to cancer, the medical officers said. Research also shows that the overall health risks from drinking alcohol are similar for men and women, the main difference being that men face greater short-term risk, while women face greater long-term risk.

The group recommends those that meet the weekly allowances spread their alcoholic intake over at least three days.

“If you have one or two heavy drinking sessions, you increase your risks of death from long term illnesses and from accidents and injuries,” the experts said.

The new guidelines track alcohol intake per week, rather than by day.

“A weekly format should be an easier benchmark for people (most of the population) who do not drink alcohol daily,” the group said.

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