New UK Review on Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol is the new cigarette, or so the new guidelines for alcohol consumption in the UK would have you believe.
We all know someone who has fallen victim to the disease of alcoholism, or is affected by the actions of a drunken person. Drinking alcohol is a double edged sword of drinking enough to be social, and not drinking too much to be a danger to yourself and others. Life in the empty nest is often replete with a little wine while fine dining or other alcoholic beverages as friends get together.
Trendy wine bars and upscale pubs replaced tea shops and cafes. Alcohol is big business and the British have always enjoyed a night at the pub. The recently published Alcohol Consumption Guidelines was prompted by figures such as 8,146 alcohol related deaths in 2013. Alcohol was also responsible for 1.2 million hospital admissions in 2012.
Reduce your Alcohol
Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical officer for England, just published the first major revision of alcohol guidelines in 20 yrs, and the reaction has been mixed. Some say it highlights the obvious, while it has also been accused of creating a “Nanny State”.
The report’s main recommendations are:
- Men are now being advised to drink the same level of alcohol as women no more than six or seven pints, or small glasses of wine, a week.
- Spread over 3 or more days.
- Any amount can increase the risk of cancer.
- Pregnancy – Not recommended at all.
- Drinking for health is not a justified.
- Several alcohol free days per week.
- Drink slowly.
- Limit the amount for each occasion.
- Risks are greater for women in the long term.
- 3 pints is binge drinking.
Love it or hate it, the guideline is only a recommendation. Every individual, as they say in Canada has to “Know your limit and stick within it.” has to take responsibility for their own actions when consuming alcohol. There is a poem my mother used to recite in school when poetry was still used to instill moral lessons. I will share the first part of the poem where a glass of wine is boasting:
THE TWO GLASSES
There sat two glasses filled to the brim,
On a rich mans table, rim to rim;
One was ruddy and red as blood,
And one as clear as the crystal flood. Said the glass of wine to the paler brother:
Let us tell the tales of the past to each other;
I can tell of banquet and revel and mirth,
And the proudest and grandest souls on earth
Fell under my touch as though struck by blight,
Where I was king, for I ruled in might;
From the heads of kings I have torn the crown,
From the heights of fame I have hurled men down:
I have blasted many an honored name;
I have taken virtue and given shame;
I have tempted the youth with a sip, a taste,
That has made his future a barren waste.
Greater, far greater than king am I,
Or than any army beneath the sky.
I have made the arm of the driver fail,
And sent the train from the iron rail;
I have made good ships go down at sea,
And the shrieks of the lost were sweet to me,
For they said, Behold how great you be!
Fame, strength, wealth, genius before you fall,
For your might and power are over all.
Ho! ho! pale brother, laughed the wine,
Can you boast of deeds as great as mine?
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873