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Pint of health: Take 2-day break in a week

world Updated: Jan 10, 2012 00:57 IST
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If you've been merrily guzzling your favourite Merlot after reading yet another article on the wonders an occasional glass of wine can do to your heart, here's a thought to chew on. The health benefits of alcohol have been oversold and the antidote is to make two days of your week alcohol-free, says a new report.

A committee of British MPs has advised a revision of safe drinking guidelines, saying public understanding of them is poor. In the report released Monday, the House of Commons science and technology committee says drinkers need to better understand what a unit of alcohol looks like, so they can have an idea of how many units there are in a pint of beer, a glass of wine or a shot of vodka.

In 1987, when alcohol guidance was published, it was set out at a maximum 21 units per week for men and 14 for women. However, studies published in the 1990s suggested a small amount of alcohol might be good for the heart. This led to a reframing of the guidance in terms of daily intake: no more than three to four units a day for men and two to three for women.

"The committee found a lack of expert consensus over the health benefits of alcohol," the report says.

"The evidence we received suggests the guidelines should not be increased and people should be advised to take at least two drink-free days a week," committee chairman Andrew Miller said.

Guardian news service