Before you go and make Christmas more miserable than it need be, it is worth taking the following into consideration.
A committee that was set up to determine safe drinking levels published a report that stated the safe drinking level for men was 28 units of alcohol per week (roughly three bottles of wine) and for women it was 21 units (roughly two).
A member of the committee, Richard Smith, the former editor of the British Medical Journal, later said that they couldn’t actually find any scientific evidence to justify these limits but thought they ought to publish something as that was what they had been tasked with so they just “plucked the figure out of the air”.
Some time later, the safe drinking levels per week were reduced to 21 units for men and 14 units for women. Now the safe limits are 14 units per week regardless of whether someone is male or female.
Perhaps this has been done in the name of equality or to make it easier for men to switch genders and become women without worrying about the reduced alcohol limit.
The most charitable explanation for this absurdly low level is that the nanny state knows we are all going to exceed the recommended level regardless of where it’s set so they set it low to keep alcohol consumption down. Their intention was to make us feel so guilty we become abstemious instead of rampant alcoholics.
The trouble is, they may be doing more harm than good and over the last two years our health experts haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory. Professor Sir Richard Doll was the epidemiologist that first found a causal link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. He was so convinced that he immediately stopped smoking. He was meticulous and through his integrity and lifelong insistence on the highest standards, Doll won the respect of colleagues and scientists throughout the world.
In 1994, a study of 12,321 middle-aged, male doctors led by Sir Richard Doll and a team at the Radcliffe Infirmary – “Mortality in relation to the consumption of alcohol” – found that: “The consumption of alcohol appeared to reduce the risk of ischaemic heart disease, largely irrespective of amount.” Other studies have since been published which showed that moderate amounts of alcohol gave some degree of protection against heart disease.
“But what about cancer, liver disease and all those other ailments alcohol consumption causes?” I hear you cry.
Earlier this year the BBC broadcast a programme showing the post mortem of an overweight American woman who had died in her sixties. As her organs were removed it was shown how each was affected by certain factors and how, if she had still been alive, this would have gone on to cause her demise.
Lastly they removed her heart and saw she had heart disease which was what had killed her. She was teetotal. Perhaps if she had been more inclined to have one or two glasses of wine a day she may have lived longer.
So if you do have a particularly indulgent Christmas and New Year perhaps a few alcohol free days wouldn’t go a miss, but whatever you do don’t ruin the whole of January.