Our response to new alcohol guidelines

8 January 2016        

Category: BHF Comment

Alcoholic drinks

Today, Dame Sally Davies and fellow UK Chief Medical Officers have published new guidelines for alcohol consumption.

Among the new recommendations to keep any health risks low:

  • Men should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol each week, the same level as for women
  • Men and women should have several alcohol-free days each week.

A review also found that the benefits of alcohol for heart health only apply for women aged 55 and over. The greatest benefit is seen when these women limit their intake to around 5 units a week, the equivalent of around two standard glasses of wine.

Dr Mike Knapton, our Associate Medical Director, said: “This consultation aims to clarify how the findings of research can be effectively presented and communicated to the public in a way that enables them to make informed decisions on the likely impact of personal alcohol consumption on their overall health.

“Although very low levels of alcohol may have some protective effects against coronary heart disease this is more than outweighed by the adverse effects of alcohol on other organs.

“The BHF has never advised anyone to take up drinking to protect their heart. There are much better ways of achieving this through exercise, diet, not smoking and attention to risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.”

Find out more about alcohol and your heart