Expert Nutrition

Alcohol Guidelines - Moderation is the Key to Good Health

Although research has shown some health benefits associated with moderate alcohol consumption in particular reducing the risk of heart attacks in those aged over 40, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Alcohol consumed in excess can have serious negative impacts on health, including being a significant risk factor for a number of diseases and nutrient deficiencies.

The National Health Medical and Research Council in 2001 published Alcohol Guidelines which were designed to minimise the risks to your health, both in the short and long term, and to increase the likelihood of possible health benefits. These guidelines are summarised as follows:

Healthy Alcohol Guidelines for Men

  1. No more than an average of 4 standard drinks for men on a daily basis
  2. At least 1-2 alcohol free days per week
  3. No more than 6 standard drinks on any one day

Healthy Alcohol Guidelines for Women

  1. No more than an average of 2 standard drinks for women on a daily basis
  2. At least 1-2 alcohol free days per week
  3. No more than 4 standard drinks on any one day

It is important to note that these guidelines are not designed as a safe level of alcohol consumption prior to undertaking any activity involving risk or a degree of skill, including driving, flying, water sports, skiing, operating machinery etc.

How Much is a Standard Alcoholic Drink?

Examples of a standard drink include (these are approximations only)

  • A middy (275ml) of full strength beer or a schooner (425ml) of light beer
  • A small glass of wine (100ml)
  • 60ml glass of port
  • 30ml nip of spirits


References:
1. Alcohol and Your Health, National Alcohol strategy. Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing 2003
2. National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian Alcohol Guidelines: Health Risks and Benefits. Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing 2001


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