LIFESTYLE

Advisory Beer Limits For Men Could Soon Be Reduced To One-And-A-Half Pints Per Day

31/12/2015 10:02 GMT | Updated 31/12/2015 12:59 GMT

In what will probably upset Friday night pub-goers, men could soon be advised to drink no more than one-and-a-half pints of beer per day.

The advisory limit for men could match that of women by January 2016, according to a report from The Sun.

Currently, men are advised to drink between three and four units of alcohol per day, which is the equivalent of about two pints of beer. Meanwhile women are advised to consume between two and three units.

However government officials hope to introduce "safer levels" to curb drinking among men, so their daily intake will match that of women.

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The new guidelines are expected to be announced in the New Year.

Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the Institute for Economic Affairs, called the proposed changes "grim".

He said the changes were "not based on evidence" and added: "It looks like we’re moving in a direction where in 10 to 15 years the advice will be there is no safe level and we should not drink a drop."

Meanwhile a Department of Health spokesperson confirmed to The Sun that the guidelines had been reviewed by Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies and that the proposals would be published in 2016.

Dr Helen Webberley, a GP for Oxford Online Pharmacy, told HuffPost UK Lifestyle that the safe limits set on alcohol consumption "have never been based on any scientific trials". Instead, they have always involved "guesswork".

"This is mainly due to the fact that different people are affected differently by varying amounts of alcohol," she explained.

"What we would need, in order to get a scientific measure of the effects, is to follow a number of groups of men over a long period and expose them to varying amounts of alcohol - and then see what happens.

"Logistically this trial can't be done and as such we need to be very careful in advising men on what is absolutely safe for them. Of course we know that drinking in excess is dangerous, but exactly what that measurement of excess is, is difficult to gauge. We also know that a little alcohol can be beneficial, but exactly how we quantify 'little' again is very difficult."

She added: "Of course excessive drinking carries with it other risks: weight gain through calorie consumption, negative effects on mental health and of course the dangers of drink driving, so regulating our alcohol in-take is essential and guidance such as this is to be welcomed."

The news comes just weeks after a study lifted the lid on how increasing alcohol consumption is placing a burden on England’s hospitals.

Research found that alcohol-related emergency hospital admissions have more than doubled in nine years.

Similarly, the number of people being diagnosed with probable alcohol poisoning has doubled over a period of six years.

The highest rates of alcohol-related emergency admissions were seen in men, particularly in older age groups (45-64-year-olds).

Experts called on the government to consider enforcing preventable measures, including minimum unit pricing and restricting availability of booze, to lift the burden on the NHS.

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