MP advise two alcohol-free days a week


People should avoid drinking alcohol for at least two days a week to protect their health, a committee of British MPs said in a report published today.

Current guidelines focus on maximum units of alcohol that can be safely consumed but people are sometimes unsure at to how many units there are in their glass of wine or pint of beer.

"We suggest that, if daily guidelines are retained, the government consider simplifying the guidelines so that, as is the case in Scotland, all individuals are advised to take at least two alcohol-free days a week," the report from the Commons’ Science and Technology Committee said.

"This would enforce the message that drinking every day should be avoided, and would helpfully quantify what 'regular' drinking means to the public," it added.

The government, industry and charities should emphasise the acute risks of heavy drinking and the chronic risks of regular drinking, the review said.

“Sensible” drinking limits were defined 25 years ago as 21 units of alcohol a week for men and 14 for women. But mew evidence in the 1990s claiming drinking could help prevent heart disease prompted ministers to advise daily limits of up to four units a day for men and three for women.

Committee chairman Andrew Miller called for a “detailed, scientific review” of the limits.

“One thing that is clear from the scientific evidence we looked at is our bodies recover better if we have a couple of days alcohol-free,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme. “This is not a message that says go out binge- drinking - absolutely the opposite.

“A couple of pints a day, seven days a week, is not a good idea - a couple of days free is a good idea. Equally, consuming huge volumes in binge episodes is equally bad for you.

“Evidence suggests behaviour has changed since 1987, particularly with young people binge-drinking. But in terms of general well-being and general health, all the clinical evidence suggests, however a modest drinker you are, a couple of days alcohol-free is probably good for you.”

The report recommends that clinicians and behavioural experts get together to review guidance in an effort to help people navigate what is healthy for them to drink.