Dec 19: New Draft Guidelines from Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) announced on Monday recommends reduced alcohol consumption of 1.4 standard drinks as compared to 2 earlier , setting safe limits for the first time with the guidelines recommending pregnant women and lactating mothers not to drink alcohol at all, reports Subhash Arora
In Australia, a standard drink is any drink containing 10 grams of alcohol, regardless of container size or alcohol type. In the US a standard drink contains roughly 14 grams of pure alcohol, which is found in a 150 mL glass of wine with 12% alcohol. In India, there is no standard drink except that most restaurants follow the standard size of 150 mL which ought to be 125 mL with the alcohol levels goin up from 12-12.5% to 14.5-15%.
According to NHMRC, three years of research was done to reach these guidelines. The authors conclude that keeping the number of drinks to less than 10 per week could reduce the risk of dying, injury or alcohol related problems to less than one percent. They also take cognizance of recent studies on alcohol consumption linked with cancer. Similarly the controversy regarding the heart health benefits provided by daily consumption of one or two glasses of red wine is also addressed. The report suggests that no alcohol is good for health. Besides pregnant women and non-adults should not drink at all just like the breast feeding mothers.
The draft report was published on Monday by NHMRC and comes a decade after the last guidelines announced in 2009 when 14 drinks per week were considered safe.
Anne Kelso, the CEO of NHMRC, added that these guidelines were not telling Australians how much to drink but said, ‘we are providing advice about the health risks from drinking alcohol so that we can all make informed decisions in our daily lives. We are not saying this level completely eliminates risk. The less you choose to drink, the lower your risk of alcohol-related harm. For some people, not drinking at all is the safest option.” She added, “It’s 10 years since our last review of the guidelines and we now know more about the effects of alcohol. We know that alcohol continues to have significant direct health consequences for many Australians.”
The NHMRC provides advice to governments and the community on a wide range of health matters, with the latest recommendations coming after three years of research into the harms or benefits of alcohol, and its link to disease, says the news report by ABC News.
NHMRC says that the downward revision for alcohol recommendations is for a number of reasons. The research found greater link between drinking alcohol and a number of different cancers and the advice of a glass or two of red wine is good for you is not valid.
Professor Kate Conigrave, chair of the NHMRC alcohol working committee and Professor of Addiction Medicine at Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital says, ‘there are around 4,000 alcohol-related deaths per year and over 70,000 hospital admissions per year. A lot of information has come out over the last 10 years, in particular about the risks from cancer even starting from reasonably low levels of drinking."
Advice for women planning to have a baby is also no alcohol. The guidelines recommend that women who are planning a pregnancy should also not drink alcohol before they conceive. Breast-feeding moms are advised the same- not drinking alcohol is safest for baby.
Recommendations for young adults or teenagers are important with none recommended between the age of 15-17 and to delay the start of drinking alcohol as late as possible. Professor Conigrave says children and young people under 18 years of age should not drink. As if prompted by the Delhi government, the study says that "Because the brain is developing up to the age of 25, we thought that was really important that people were aware that the brain is precious, and you don't want to take risks with it."
DelWine continues to recommend up to 2 glasses of 125 mL wine for men and 1 glass for women with a break of 1-2 days in a week-editor
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