United Kingdom

Men should limit alcohol to one drink a day, experts say 

American men should cut back on their alcohol and stick to just one small glass of beer or wine a day, a report has warned.

For 30 years, men have been advised to limit their drinks to two a day, while women should keep it to one. 

But experts say that should be scrapped in light of evidence that shows two drinks a day moderately increases the risk of death compared with one. 

Scientists advising the US government say there is no reason why recommendations are different between men and women.

They claim all Americans should stick to one drink a day — the equivalent of a small glass of beer or wine, or a shot of liquor, according to health chiefs.

In the UK, the advice is to stick to two units a day, the same as a pint of low-strength beer, a standard glass of wine or two shots. 

American men should cut back on their alcohol to just one drink a day, new guidelines will say

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is made up of experts who collaborate to release updated nutritional guidelines every five years based on reviewing current studies.  

In a report released Wednesday, The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee noted there isn't adequate evidence to support different alcohol recommendations for men and women.

'As a nation, our collective health would be better if people generally drank less,' said Dr Timothy Naimi, an alcohol researcher at Boston University and one of the experts on the committee convened by federal officials. 

WHAT IS THE CURRENT ALCOHOL ADVICE IN THE US? AND HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO THE UK?

US

For 30 years, men have been advised to limit their drinks to two a day, while women should keep it to one.

This is the equivalent of a small glass of beer or wine, or a shot of liquor, according to health chiefs. 

UK 

The NHS advise men and women not to drink more than 14 units a week a week to avoid health risks.

For example, a bottle of lager would contain around 1.7 units, and a large glass of wine around three units.

Dr Naimi said the advice does not suggest a man or women refrains from having a drink on Thursday and then having two on Friday.

The current Dietary Guidelines, issued in 2015, say a standard drink is equal to 14.0 grams (0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol. 

Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in a small can or bottle of beer (12 ounces), a small glass of wine (five ounces), or a shot of liquor or spirits (1.5 ounces). 

Research over the past few decades also supports tightening the limit for men based on the harms of drinking.  

Links have been uncovered between excessive drinking habits and all causes of death, including heart disease and cancer as well as car accidents.

And alcohol is also a risk factor or contributes to a variety of social and mental health problems, including depression, child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault and vandalism.

These observational studies do not establish a cause-and-effect relationship. But they are often the best evidence available, so experts use them to give guidance. 

Dr Naimi said two drinks a day was associated with an increased risk of death compared with one drink a day. 

He said the increase was modest, but notable enough for the committee to recommend updating the advice. 

Whether the proposed new advice would influence behaviour isn't clear. They are only there to guide people's habits. 

Many Americans already exceed the current advice on alcohol limits, Dr Naimi noted. 

Still, he said most people could generally benefit from any reduction in alcohol, even if they're not within the advised limits.  

Among all adults, alcoholic beverages contribute 21 per cent and 31 per cent of total daily beverage calories for women and men, respectively.  

Alcohol consumption accounts for approximately 100,000 deaths annually in the US and around 10,000 people in the UK, according to figures.

Of all alcohol-attributable deaths in the US, approximately 88,000 are accounted for by excessive drinking — typically defined as consuming five or more drinks per occasion.

More than twice the number of deaths from excessive drinking occur among men compared to women, the report said.

Other changes recommended by the committee include tightening the limit on added sugars to less than six per cent of calories, down from the previous limit of ten per cent.

The changes in US guidelines are in line with Britain's, which have recommend two units per day for both men and women from 2016.

Two units a day would allow one or two drinks per day, depending on the size.

A large bottle of beer, a pint of low strength beer, lager or cider, a standard glass of wine, or a double spirit and mixer (two shots) are all within two units. 

Scientists have claimed even consuming alcohol within weekly 'low-risk' guidelines can harm one's health — and even cause hospitalisation or death. 

Researchers from Canada warned in June that moderate drinkers are not 'insulated from harm'.

They account for significant numbers of alcohol-related issues. For example, their investigation found that 50 per cent of cancer deaths resulting from alcohol use in British Columbia occurred among moderate drinkers.

In the UK, low-risk drinking is classified as six pints of beer spread out over the week, whereas Canada's guidelines would allow nine pints. 

ALCOHOLISM IS THE MOST SEVERE FORM OF ALCOHOL ABUSE

Alcoholism is the most severe form of alcohol abuse and involves the inability to manage drinking habits.

It is organised into three categories: mild, moderate and severe. Each category has various symptoms and can cause harmful side effects.

If left untreated, any type of alcohol abuse can spiral out of control. 

Individuals struggling with alcoholism often feel as though they cannot function normally without alcohol.

This can lead to a wide range of issues and impact professional goals, personal matters, relationships and overall health.

Sometimes the warning signs of alcohol abuse are very noticeable. Other times, they can take longer to surface. 

When alcohol addiction is discovered in its early stages, the chance for a successful recovery increases significantly.

Common signs of alcoholism include:

Short-term effects of alcohol abuse can be just as dangerous as long-term effects. 

For instance, drinking can impact your reaction time, causing you to have slow reflexes and coordination.

That’s why drinking and driving is extremely dangerous. Getting behind the wheel of a car can alter your perception of speed and distance, putting yourself and others at risk.

Several short-term effects of alcohol abuse may produce:

Additionally, consuming too much alcohol can affect your long-term health. Some side effects may lay dormant for years before they surface.

Because of this, professional medical care is required for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Long-term health conditions caused by alcohol:

Treatment for Alcoholism 

There are different forms of treatment available based on frequency and severity of alcohol abuse. 

Recovering from alcohol addiction is a process that continues long after rehab. 

It takes commitment to practice and apply the techniques you learn in rehab, counseling, support groups and other types of therapy.

Although every individual will have their own recovery plan that’s tailored to their specific needs, treatment generally follows a structure.

Alcohol treatment is broken into three sections, consisting of:

Detoxification

The first stage in alcohol addiction recovery is detoxification. This phase should be completed with the help of medical professionals due to the potential for serious, uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Many times, individuals are given a medication to help alleviate the painful side effects of a withdrawal.

Rehabilitation

There are two types of rehabilitation that help treat alcoholism: inpatient rehab and outpatient rehab. Inpatient rehabs are intensive treatment programs that require you to check into a facility for a certain period of time, usually 30, 60 or 90 days. Outpatient rehab allows individuals to participate in a recovery program while continuing with their daily life. Talk with your doctor about treatment options to determine which form of recovery will best fit your needs.

Maintenance

The recovery process doesn’t end with the completion of rehab. Long-term sobriety requires ongoing therapy and may entail support groups, counseling and other recovery resources. These will make sure you maintain sobriety and continue on a happy, healthy path for months and years to come.

Source: Alcohol Rehab Guide

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