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Latest guidelines on drinking alcohol - in full

Published 08/01/2016

The guidelines recommend not drinking more than 14 units a week
The guidelines recommend not drinking more than 14 units a week

Here are the full guidelines on consuming alcohol from the UK's chief medical officers.

On regular drinking:

:: You are safest not to drink regularly more than 14 units per week, to keep health risks from drinking alcohol to a low level.

:: If you do drink as much as 14 units per week, it is best to spread this evenly over three days or more. If you have one or two heavy drinking sessions, you increase your risks of death from long-term illnesses and from accidents and injuries.

:: The risk of developing a range of illnesses (including, for example, cancers of the mouth, throat and breast) increases with any amount you drink on a regular basis.

:: If you wish to cut down the amount you're drinking, a good way to help achieve this is to have several drink-free days each week.

On drinking on any single occasion:

Men and women can reduce risks by:

:: Limiting the total amount of alcohol you drink on any occasion.

:: Drinking more slowly, drinking with food, and alternating with water.

:: Avoiding risky places and activities, making sure you have people you know around, and ensuring you can get home safely.

The sorts of things that are more likely to happen if you do not judge the risks from how you drink correctly can include: accidents resulting in injury (causing death in some cases), misjudging risky situations, and losing self-control.

As well as the risk of accident and injury, drinking alcohol regularly is linked to long-term risks such as heart disease, cancer, liver disease, and epilepsy.

On drinking in pregnancy:

:: If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all, to keep risks to your baby to a minimum.

:: Drinking in pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to the baby, with the more you drink the greater the risk.

:: The risk of harm to the baby is likely to be low if a woman has drunk only small amounts of alcohol before she knew she was pregnant or during pregnancy.

Women who find out they are pregnant after already having drunk during early pregnancy, should avoid further drinking, but should be aware that it is unlikely in most cases that their baby has been affected.

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