One in five UK drinkers exceed alcohol limit guideline

10th January, 2020 by Nicola Carruthers

Just over a fifth of drinkers regularly exceed the UK’s recommended alcohol consumption guideline, according to new research.

Six in 10 consumers have no idea what the UK’s weekly recommended alcohol consumption limit is

The UK chief medical officers’ guideline for both men and women recommends it is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.

Fourteen units is the equivalent of six pints (568ml) of 4% ABV beer, six 175ml glasses of 13% ABV wine or 14 25ml servings of 40% ABV whisk(e)y, according to Drinkaware.

New research commissioned by the Yorkshire Cancer Research charity has found that 21% of drinkers exceed the recommended guideline every week.

The study, which surveyed 3,000 adults, also found that six in 10 people have no idea how much the weekly recommended limit is. In addition, 14% of drinkers believe the limit is 21 units.

On average, UK drinkers consume alcohol twice a week, reaching nine units. However, 42% consume more frequently than this.

A third of drinkers admit they would like to cut down on drinking due to how it could impact their health and wellbeing. Around half of consumers have cut down at one time or another by abstaining from alcohol for a month or more.

For the 37% of people who abstained, this led to a “sustained reduction” in the number of units consumed. However, 51% returned to drinking the same amount.

The study found seven in 10 participants didn’t know that any amount of alcohol consumed can increase the risk of developing cancer. Despite being made aware of this, 79% said they would continue to drink.

The survey also found that 66% of consumers think more needs to be done to raise awareness of the health risks linked to alcohol.

Dr Kathryn Scott, chief executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “It’s great to see so many of those polled have abstained from alcohol at some stage.

“But it is more beneficial to our health to drink at a low level throughout the year rather than abstain for one month and then go above the government recommendations the rest of the year.”

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