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How Nanny made up the rules...

How ‘safe drinking’ experts let a bottle or two go to their heads - Times Online
A collective shudder of dismay rattled wine glasses on middle-class dining tables this week when a report labelled some of Britain’s most affluent towns as sozzled dens of “hazardous drinking” iniquity.
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When the report defined any man who drinks more than 21 units of alcohol a week, or woman who consumes more than 14, as a hazardous drinker, the authors were relying on limits that have been set in stone for the past 20 years.

Yet these guidelines have no basis in science. Rather, in the words of a member of the committee that drew them up, they were simply “plucked out of the air”.

The safe limits were introduced in 1987 after the Royal College of Physicians produced its first health report on alcohol misuse. In A Great and Growing Evil: The Medical Consequences of Alcohol Abuse, the college warned that a host of medical problems – including liver disease, strokes, heart disease, brain disease and infertility – were associated with excessive drinking. The report was the most significant study into alcohol-related disorders to date.

But Richard Smith, the former editor of the British Medical Journal and a member of the college’s working party on alcohol, told The Times yesterday that the figures were not based on any clear evidence. He remembers “rather vividly” what happened when the discussion came round to whether the group should recommend safe limits for men and women.

“David Barker was the epidemiologist on the committee and his line was that ‘We don’t really have any decent data whatsoever. It’s impossible to say what’s safe and what isn’t’.

“And other people said, ‘Well, that’s not much use. If somebody comes to see you and says ‘What can I safely drink?’, you can’t say ‘Well, we’ve no evidence. Come back in 20 years and we’ll let you know’. So the feeling was that we ought to come up with something. So those limits were really plucked out of the air. They weren’t really based on any firm evidence at all.

So more than a glass and a half may be OK... just as well for tonight.....

Comments

The truth on alcohol gets recognised from time to time and is this. If it interferes with your eating you are in big trouble. If you continue to eat properly, your health will remain unaffected by it (though not necessarily your driving or social life).

Oh those mp's. Ask them about the house of commons bar mate. I believe it has unrestricted hours and every type of alcohol on planet Earth! MP's! What a bunch of hypocrites.

I posted a story about this this week.
http://dontmoan.blogspot.com/2007/10/drink-moderation-has-definition.html

What I found interesting was that there a school of thought that thought 65 units a week was a safe maximum - and none of the other experts questioned it.

Click the link in the post to find out more.

This business has had one useful effect - whenever the cancerous growth of the public sector provide any more safety warnings, we will be able to say: "You are a lying gang of scum", and be able to provide immediate proof we are right.

This is the best news for years.

Just remember - it's none of their business.

Don't legitimise them by debating, arguing their fine points, disputing about what the exact "limit" should be, etc.

Just tell them to F off, it's none of their business.

The Times article quoted has since been discredited...there will always be those who deny the harm caused by alcohol as over estimated, usually those who drink too much. The suggestion that 60 units a week is acceptable is raving mad...unless you imagine that drinking 3 pints of vodka a week is normal. An individual's right to cause their bodies permanent damage notwithstanding, The Times article should be removed from internet, it's a hugely irresponsible green light for alcohol abuse.

It's a typical reaction of people to believe something only when it sounds acceptable to their ears.

Yes, I agree that these limits were essentially made up. It has nothing to do with some hard amount, because everyone is different and weigh different amounts and have different tolerances. What it really boils down to is whether or not it is interfering with your everyday life. If that is happening, then you now have a problem.

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