New 14 units per week drink guidelines are ‘road to prohibition’

There is a move to restrict alcohol consumption to 14 units a week in the UK. Picture: John Devlin
There is a move to restrict alcohol consumption to 14 units a week in the UK. Picture: John Devlin
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The move to restrict drinking to no more than 14 units a week for men and women is “bad science” and puts Britain on the “rocky road to prohibition”, the latest edition of the Good Beer Guide has claimed.

The annual publication, known as the industry “Bible”, insists that the new guidelines, brought in across the UK in January, are inspired by the “kill-joys of the Temperance movement”.

In the United States, prohibition banned alcohol entirely from 1920 to 1933, led by the Temperance movement and the “dry” crusaders. The UK’s new rules advise that men and women limit their drinking to 14 units a week – just over five pints of 4.8 per cent lager or four large glasses of wine – with days when they drink no alcohol at all.

It also suggests people avoid binge drinking and spread drinking out over the week.

Roger Protz, editor of the new edition of the guide, said: “This is the rocky road to prohibition.

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“I’m glad that in August the government rowed back on the recommendations from the UK’s Chief Medical Officers and said moderate drinking imposed no greater health risk than driving a car. But the government still supports 14 units a week and says they are based on good science, when the opposite is the case.”

He claimed that the Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Dame Sally Davies, was “heavily influenced” by the Institute for Alcohol Studies, which is funded by the Alliance House Foundation, previously known as the UK Temperance Alliance, after the Temperance movement in the United States which campaigned for prohibition in the 20th century.

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He said: “The Good Beer Guide urges people to drink sensibly and moderately – and to do their drinking in company in the pub. But the restrictions urged by the medical officers are taking us on the road to prohibition.

“All the real scientific evidence shows that moderate beer drinking can contribute to a healthy lifestyle. We should listen to the experts – not the kill-joys of the Temperance movement.”

The guide points to higher limits recommended in Ireland and Denmark of 21 units, 25 units in the United States and Canada, and 34 units in Spain. Mr Protz added: “Are the Spanish a nation of falling-down drunks? On the contrary: we are advised to adopt their healthy Mediterranean diet, which includes wine and beer.”

Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, said: “These guidelines give the public the latest and most up to date scientific information so that they can make informed decisions about their own drinking.”

She added: “Drinking any amount of alcohol regularly carries a health risk for anyone, but if men and women limit their intake to no more than 14 units a week it keeps the risk of cancer, heart disease and liver disease low.”