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Revised guidelines to reduce health risks of alcohol

Revised guidelines to reduce health risks of alcohol

The National Health and Medical Research Council has revised Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol.

In its draft guidelines, which are open for public comment until 24 February 2020, the NHMRC recommends drinking no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than four standard drinks on any one day. Ten standard drinks per week is about 1.4 drinks per day.

Previous guidelines suggested no more than 14 drinks per week.

A standard drink contains 10 grams of alcohol. The average restaurant serving of 150ml of red wine is 1.6 standard drinks and white wine is 1.4 standard drinks. A pot of beer is 1.1 standard drinks and a 375ml bottle of beer is 1.4 standard drinks.

The NHMRC recommends that women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should not drink alcohol at all, to reduce risk of harm to their unborn child. Women who are breastfeeding are also advised to not drink alcohol. The NHMRC also recommends that people aged under 18 do not drink alcohol at all.

NHMRC CEO, Professor Anne Kelso said the revised draft guidelines have been developed over the past three years using the best health evidence available.

‘We’re not telling Australians how much to drink. We’re providing advice about the health risks from drinking alcohol so that we can all make informed decisions in our daily lives,’ Professor Kelso said.

‘In 2017 there were more than 4,000 alcohol-related deaths in Australia, and across 2016/17 more than 70,000 hospital admissions.

‘Alcohol is linked to more than 60 medical conditions, particularly numerous cancers. So, we all need to consider the risks when we decide how much to drink.’