New Alcohol Guidelines Devised to Fight Cancer



Alcohol consumption at any level increases the risk or oral and other cancers alike, according to the Chief Medical Officers of the United Kingdom, and those risks grow with the amount consumed. As a result, the UK has announced new guidelines for consumption based on a review by the Committee of Carcinogenicity (CoC).

According to the CoC, alcohol intake should be limited to 14 units each week. This equals 6 pints of average strength beer, which would still entail a low risk of illness. Previous guidelines called for no more than 21 units for men and 14 units for women.

“Drinking any level of alcohol regularly carries a health risk for anyone,” said Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England, “but if men and women limit their intake to no more than 14 unites a week, it keeps the risk of illness like cancer and liver disease low.

People should not consume these 14 units in a short span of a couple of days, either. Rather, consumption should be spread over 3 or more days. People who binge once or twice a week increase the risk of long-term illnesses, accidents, and injuries. The Department of Health suggests several alcohol-free days each week.

Additionally, the guidelines report that the benefits of alcohol for heart health only apply to women age 55 and older, and even then, the greatest benefit occurs when these women limit their intake to about 5 units a week, or 2 standard glasses of wine. The CoC concluded that there is no justification for drinking for health reasons.

“What we are aiming to do with these guidelines is give the public the latest and most up to date scientific information so that they can make informed decisions about their own drinking and the level of risk they are prepared to take,” said Davies.

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