The Government will review the current drinking guidelines for the first time in 15 years, the Department of Health announced. The Government's response follows the recent House of Commons' Science and Technology Committee (STC) report, which declared the existing guidelines as "confusing" and called for further clarity.
Daily guidelines were advocated following 1995 research which suggested that moderate consumption could lower "bad" cholesterol and have a protective effect on coronary heart disease. The message remains contentious though, as this Science Daily post outlines.
Although daily guidelines might prevent people from assuming they could 'save their units up', critics highlighted that they "appeared to endorse daily drinking" and so increased possible interpretation of the advised amount by as much as 50%. Professor Ian Gilmore, from the Royal College of Physicians, stated that daily or near daily drinking can increase the risk of liver disease.
But the STC report found that daily guidelines confused the general public, and further confidence in the guidelines was needed. The STC also urged the Government to consider adopting the guidance to have 2 alcohol free days per week, as is current guidance in Scotland, and suggests lower consumption levels for older people.
The Government insist that current guidelines are "consistent with scientific knowledge" but agree the review is necessary. The Government Review will be led by Dame Sally Davies, UK's Chief Medical Officer.