Australian Health Council Updates Alcohol Guidelines for “Safe” Consumption

It has only been a few weeks since the last alcohol study said that a few drinks a day might not pose as much a risk as we had long though. But after three years of study, the national health authority in Australia amended what they originally recorded as a safe consumption recommendation.  Researchers from Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) now say that while there really is no “safe” amount of alcohol, it is best to limit intake to no more than about 10 [standard] servings per week. 

To make sense of this, a standard serving is about 1 oz or 30 mL depending on the proof of the alcohol; and it equates to about 1.4 servings per day.  On top of this, they also advise that—in keeping with the theme of maximizing health—nobody should consume more than four drinks on any single occasion.  

And, thus, it is definitely more dangerous to hold out and save all 10 drinks for a single event (like a party, etc). 

Professor Kate Conigrave is chair of the NHMRC alcohol working committee.  She notes that these new guidelines are a good way to help reduce long-term health risks.  Specifically, she cites evidence that has emerged in just the past few years, regarding the potential links between alcohol and cancer. 

Also a Professor of Addiction Medicine at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Conigrave goes on to say, “There are around 4,000 alcohol-related deaths per year [and] more than 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.”

Australian health authorities have also revised their advice on underage alcohol consumption.  They note that children/teenagers should not drink at all and, instead, should delay their first drink for as long as possible; a memorandum that is far more strict than previous regulations. 

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