Recommended maximum intake of alcoholic beverages

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This article summarizes the recommended maximum intake (or 'safe limits') of the drug alcohol, to be specific ethanol, as recommended by the health agencies of various governments. These recommendations are varied, reflecting scientific uncertainty.[1] The recommendations as to the recommended maximum intake are distinct from legal restrictions (e.g. on driving) that may apply in those countries.

Caveats[edit]

The guidelines are general guidelines applying to a 'typical' person. However, there are some people who should not consume alcohol, or limit their use to less than guideline amounts. These are:

The standard guidelines may be too high when:

Units and standard drinks[edit]

Countries express alcohol intake in 'units' or 'standard drinks' when recommending alcohol intake. In increasing order of unit size:

CountryGramsmillilitresRef
Austria6[8]
United Kingdom810[9][10]
Iceland9.5[11]
Netherlands9.9[10]
Australia1012.7[12]
Ireland1012.7[citation needed]
Italy1012.7[citation needed]
New Zealand1012.7[13]
Poland1012.7[citation needed]
Spain1012.7[citation needed]
Finland11[14]
Denmark12[citation needed]
France12[citation needed]
South Africa12[citation needed]
Canada13.6[3]
Portugal14[14]
United States14[14]
Hungary17[citation needed]
Japan19.7525[citation needed]
Hong KongA 'drink' without any more precision[15]

Men[edit]

The standard drink size is given in brackets.

Daily maximum drinks (no weekly limits recommended)[edit]

Therefore, these countries recommend limits for men in the range 20–40g per day.

Daily/weekly maximum drinks[edit]

These countries recommend a weekly limit, but intake on a particular day may be higher than one-seventh of the weekly amount.

Therefore, these countries recommend limits for men in the range 27.2–32g per day and 168–210g per week.

Weekly maximum drinks[edit]

Women who are neither pregnant nor breastfeeding[edit]

Women trying to become pregnant should look at the guidelines for pregnant women given in the next section.

Daily maximum drinks (no weekly limits recommended)[edit]

Therefore, these countries recommend limits for women in the range 16–30g per day.

Daily/weekly maximum drinks[edit]

These countries recommend a weekly limit, but your intake on a particular day may be higher than one-seventh of the weekly amount.

Therefore, these countries recommend limits for women in the range 14–27.2g per day and 98–140g per week.

Weekly maximum drinks[edit]

Pregnant women[edit]

Excessive drinking in pregnancy is the cause of Fetal alcohol syndrome (BE: foetal alcohol syndrome), especially in the first eight to twelve weeks of pregnancy. Therefore, advice for pregnant women is different from those who are not. It is not known whether there is a safe minimum amount of alcohol consumption, although low levels of drinking are not known to be harmful.[25][26] As there may be some weeks between conception and confirmation of pregnancy, most countries recommend that women trying to become pregnant should follow the guidelines for pregnant women.

In short, all countries listed above, with the exception of the UK, recommend that pregnant women abstain from alcohol consumption.

Breastfeeding women[edit]

"Alcohol passes to the baby in small amounts in breast milk. The milk will smell different to the baby and may affect their feeding, sleeping or digestion. The best advice is to avoid drinking shortly before a baby’s feed."[32] "Alcohol inhibits a mother’s let-down (the release of milk to the nipple). Studies have shown that babies take around 20% less milk if there’s alcohol present, so they’ll need to feed more often – although infants have been known to go on ‘nursing strike’, probably because of the altered taste of the milk."[33] "There is little research evidence available about the effect that [alcohol in breast milk] has on the baby, although practitioners report that, even at relatively low levels of drinking, it may reduce the amount of milk available and cause irritability, poor feeding and sleep disturbance in the infant. Given these concerns, a prudent approach is advised."[2]

Minors[edit]

Countries have different recommendations concerning the administration of alcohol to minors by adults.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sussex uni finds "no consensus" on safe drink limits
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Australian Guidelines 2009, p. 39
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Centre for Addiction and Mental Health / Centre de toxicomanie et de santé mentale Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand (ALAC) Low Risk Drinking
  5. ^ Weathermon R, Crabb DW (1999). "Alcohol and medication interactions" (PDF). Alcohol Res Health 23 (1): 40–54. PMID 10890797. 
  6. ^ Prevention Source BC Alcohol and Drug Interactions Winter 2000
  7. ^ Sheldrake, Sean; Pollock, Neal W. "Alcohol and Diving". In: Steller D, Lobel L, eds. Diving for Science 2012. Proceedings of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences 31st Symposium. Dauphin Island, AL: AAUS; 2012. Retrieved 2013-03-06. 
  8. ^ ICAP What Is a “Standard Drink”? September 1998
  9. ^ PRODIGY Knowledge (Department of Health) Alcohol and Sensible Drinking
  10. ^ a b Key Facts and Issues International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP)
  11. ^ a b c Worldwide Recommendations on Alcohol Consumption
  12. ^ Department of Health and Ageing The Australian Standard Drink
  13. ^ a b c d e Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand (ALAC) What's in a Standard Drink
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i Drinking and You Drinking guidelines — units of alcohol
  15. ^ SENSIBLE DRINKING GUIDELINES
  16. ^ a b c d National Health and Medical Research Council 2009 Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol
  17. ^ a b c d National Health and Medical Research Council 2009 Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol: Frequently Asked Questions
  18. ^ a b c d New alcohol guidelines say reduce drinking to reduce risk
  19. ^ http://www.slv.se/sv/grupp1/Mat-och-naring/Svenska-narings-rekommendationer/Rekommendationer-om-alkohol/
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i ICAP International Drinking Guidelines
  21. ^ a b c d http://www.aim-digest.com/gateway/pages/guide/articles/biggy.htm
  22. ^ a b Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines (LRDG) (goes live September 2006)
  23. ^ http://alkoholbehandling.wordpress.com/2010/10/03/sundhedsstyrelsen-anbefaler-at-vi-drikker-mindre-alkohol/
  24. ^ http://alkoholbehandling.wordpress.com/2010/10/03/sundhedsstyrelsen-anbefaler-at-vi-drikker-mindre-alkohol/
  25. ^ a b NICE, Routine antenatal care for healthy pregnant women March 2007
  26. ^ a b BBC 'No alcohol in pregnancy' advised 25 May 2007
  27. ^ a b New Zealand Ministry of Health Manatū Hauora Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women
  28. ^ Department of Health Alcohol Advice
  29. ^ NHS Alcohol and pregnancy
  30. ^ Rosemary Bennett Zero – the new alcohol limit in pregnancy The Times 25 May 2007
  31. ^ 'USDA, Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, Chapter 9: Alcoholic Beverages
  32. ^ Alcohol and pregnancy
  33. ^ a b Alcohol and breastfeeding
  34. ^ Consultation on children, young people and alcohol
  35. ^ Parents back alcohol free childhood 17 December 2009
  36. ^ BBC 'No alcohol' urged for under-15s 29 January 2009

External links[edit]