U.K. to Britons: Lay off booze twice a week

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(CBS) Some members of the British government have a message for all Britons: Don't drink alcohol twice a week.

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The Science and Technology Committee, made up of several Members of Parliament, made the announcement because it says the country's current guidelines for "sensible drinking" could lead to excessive drinking.

Since 1987, the position of the British government was that British men could drink up to 21 units of alcohol a week and women could drink up to 14, because scientific evidence suggested drinking alcohol could cut the risk for heart disease. In the 1990s, the recommendation changed to quantify daily alcohol use, saying men should not regularly drink more than three to four units a day and women no more than two to three units a day.

But the committee said it's skeptical about alcohol's health benefits because that evidence was found for only men over 40 and post-menopausal women, yet the recommendation applied to all Britons. The MP's are also concerned the guidelines "appeared to endorse daily drinking." The committee wasn't even sure British citizens knew how much alcohol is in a unit. A can of beer or a standard glass of wine contains two units, according to The Daily Mail.

That's why the committee announced that two days a week without alcohol would promote better health and "enforce the message that drinking every day should be avoided, and would helpfully quantify what 'regular' drinking means to the public," according to Reuters.

Some British experts, like Sir Ian Gilmore, chair of the British advocacy group Alcohol Health Alliance, think that many Britons don't realize that daily drinking could signal a problem.

"If somebody drinks half a glass of wine a day for every day of their life, they're unlikely to come to harm. But life is not like that," Gilmore told The Telegraph. "People who drink every day don't tend to drink just one drink."

The Science and Technology Committee's report is found here.

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