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Tuesday 25th June 2019

Avoid alcohol three times a week

24th October 2011

The Royal College of Physicians has said the government should improve its guidance on alcohol to recommend people did not drink for three days every week.


Current guidelines state that women should not drink more than 2-3 units of alcohol per day and men should not drink over 3-4 units per day, and that people should have 48 hours without drinking following heavy alcohol consumption.

The RCP's advice states that women should consume no more than 0-14 units a week and men should not drink over 0-21 units a week.

Doctors said the liver needs more recovery time after drinking but the government said it did not plan to amend its guidance.

Sir Ian Gilmore, special adviser on alcohol and former president of the RCP, said: "In addition to quantity, safe alcohol limits must also take into account frequency. There is an increased risk of liver disease for those who drink daily or near-daily, compared with those who drink periodically or intermittently."

"We recommend a safe alcohol consumption limit of between 0 and 21 units a week for men and 0 and 14 units a week for women provided the total amount is not drunk in one or two bouts, and that there are two to three alcohol-free days a week. At these levels, most individuals are unlikely to come to harm." 

The most recent health service data showed hospital admissions relating to alcohol reached record highs in 2010.

A written statement by the RCP said "Government guidelines should recognise that hazardous drinking has two components: frequency of drinking and amount of drinking.

"To ignore either of these components is scientifically unjustified. A very simple addition would remedy this problem, namely a recommendation that to remain within safe limits of alcohol consumption that people have three alcohol-free days a week." 


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