Panorama Britains drink problem on BBC- Watched this tonight how many of you knew the "safe" limi to drink?

Not so long ago, my GP was a tad shocked that most nights I had 3/4 glasses of wine and a few bottles of beer. I mean she was so shocked she sent me for various tests.

The current limit is 14 units which is broadly seven pints or glasses of wine a week. When I mentioned most of the country must exceed that she agreed, and said it was an aribtrary figure and not so long ago it was 60 units. She conceded she drank more than that. These limits are they BS or stepped in evidence led science. Most people who drink, must have more than seven pints a week, surely.

There was a woman who drank 100 units a week, whilst it is a decent amount it isn't that much surely. I recko these limits are just arbitary.

There was something the other week that anything over 6 units leads to an early death 

The limits are bollox and randomly made up mainly to try to discourage people from overindulging.  Theory being that if you set any limit people will exceed it by a bit so if you set a really low limit they’ll only drink say 30% more than that vs drinking 30% more than a higher limit.

That said, you’re drinking too much than is healthy by the sounds of it.  We al do to a degree but have a few nights off everynow and again.

Im ok to drink now but I tend to leave 48 hour gaps between sessions, as it were, so even though I almost always exceed the limit weekly, I give my liver chance to recover.  That said I’m on a dry fortnight at the moment, something I do periodically to give my body an even better chance at ditching toxins.

For anyone drinking fairly regularly I strongly recommend milk thistle tablets - not only do they help deal with any hangovers but they actively can help protect your liver. 

They struggle to come up with a limit as the scientific research is all over the place with evidence that alcohol is generally bad but also evidence that it certain circumstances it can have some beneficial effects.

I’m under the guidelines at the moment courtesy of working hard during the week and spending weekends with aged crippled father.  Think I’ve had no more than five pints in a week for three weeks.

Bernstein so 3 pints a week? I think the " science" is as sails said all over the place, and my GP, and mother Dr who is a Consultant says the same, although I accept that/3/4 glasses od wine and 3 bottles of beer most nights say5 nights PW is too much as a matter of routine.


I am so rarely pissed or tipsy , one can discount my ever being in that state, I never drink before 6 save for if I a out at weekends, and never drink in the morning. Wasn't the "limit" 60 units or so a few years ago? And certainly those who drank at uni, were often I would suggest putting 150/200 units away  a week no bother.

Tec, do you mind if I ask how many units you were putting away at your peak so to speak. George Best claims to regularly have drunk 12 bottles of white wine a day, nd Gazza, 2 large bottles of whisky/vodka a day, I just don't see how that is possible, you would get nothing done ever.

You should look up the 6 unit report, unless you're just in denial 

And one day a week no alcohol for liver

Uni I’d go large maybe three nights a week with half a dozen pints and then spirits so probably still only 50/60 units on average.

These days I don’t drink on my own so drink one or maybe two nights a week.  My gall bladder hurts if I’m on holiday and have a few glasses of wine every night for a week.


I was on 2 litres of Smirnoff a day at my absolute peak.  So that’s 80 units a day roughly.

fair does Tec, that is a fair bit, do u belive the supposed intake of gazza and best. and 80 units can one functon/ work on that , or is one completely blotto


You wake up semi pissed and then quickly deteriorate to the point where you’re pretty much gone by about 3 hours after you wake up.  I was on garden leave and had a cleaner and a housekeeper, didn’t need to do anything other than guiltily hide empties in bedroom drawers until I got enough courage to sneak out to the glass recycling bin and drop them all in at the same time.

It was different for me compared to alcoholics though, I was self medicating for reasons I won’t go into but I didn’t have any diagnosis or tranquillisers then like I do now so I unconsciously was achieving a similar effect but with alcohol rather than antipsychotics.

At University, I would large it Mon-Sat. I couldn't do I nowadays (can't afford it for one thing) but it catches up on you, which is why I have inflammatory arthritis, high cholesterol etc. 

She was shocked at you drinking 3 glasses of wine a night, but drank over 60 units a week herself? 




"the teetotallers still tend not to live as long"

Well what's the point if you're that joyless?

"It was different for me compared to alcoholics though, I was self medicating for reasons I won’t go into but I didn’t have any diagnosis or tranquillisers then like I do now so I unconsciously was achieving a similar effect but with alcohol rather than antipsychotics."

You have an interesting definition of alcoholism if you don't include drinking 2 bottles of vodka day to self medicate as being an alcoholic....

The limits are of course arbitrary.   Further the risk percentages that look very significant over the population as a whole may not necessarily influence an individuals decision.  For example if there was 1% chance of dying early due to alcohol that might amount to 1000s of preventable early deaths to the government and so they would strongly warn against it but many individuals may choose to take the 1% risk.  It is all meaningless unless we know the percentage risk/average healthy life years lost at any given level of consumption.

I have done best part of 9 months with no drink now (well a couple of glasses of champagne, 2 shots and a sherry thing) and going to give it a year.

Has utterly changed my relationship with Alcohol and not sure whether I am going to go back to drinking at the end of it or not.

Don't miss it nearly as much as I would have thought 

My theory is we know when alcohol is doing us harm.  I can drink a bottle of wine a day (usually with one day off), feel relaxed and it has no impact on me in the morning- more than that and I feel it and feel it is harming me.   This co-incidently equates I think to about 60 units a week or the original healthy recommended limit.   Of course the amount will be different for every person

The key sentence in the Spectator article  is:

The only real pitfall in this kind of research is the problem of people under-reporting how much they drink. The amount of alcohol sold in the UK is about twice the amount that people claim to drink, so unless we throw away a huge amount of booze, it is certain that people either forget about how much they drink or they deliberately lie to researchers. In either case, we can assume that the people who say they consume two drinks a day are probably consuming three or four drinks, in which case the amount that you have to drink to assume the same level of risk as a non-drinker is even more than this graph suggests.

It's exactly the same as all the other 'xx isn't  good for you' stories.

Once you know that the great and the good say bacon is bad for you, folks start to under-report its consumption (even if you can remember precisely how many rashers you had over the week).



Guy, an alcoholic is someone who has a compulsion to drink and who can’t stop drinking once he starts.  I had that episode yes but now? Nope.  I can take it or leave it really, sometimes I’ll have 1 or 2 other times I’ll have a few more but at the moment I’m not drinking and it doesn’t bother me in the slightest, I just don’t fancy one.

The psychiatric specialist who I see has explained this to me - I too thought I was an alco but I am not it turns out and now I have the right diagnosis and medication I rarely drink except in company in a pub or whatever.

Interesting, there have been several alcoholics in my family and the binge periods invariably come back sooner or later without total abstinence but fair enough, you obviously know what you are doing.


The spectator article is excellent by the way - always knew the limits were bullshyte but that article completely skewers them.

Bear in mind that episode was a few years ago.  I did have a period of enforced total abstinence because alcohol reacted badly (like potentially lethally) with one of the medications I was on, but I stopped being prescribed that a while ago and have now returned to being a social light drinker rather than t total or binger.  

What guy said at 12.56. I routinely drink a bottle of white in the evening along with my dinner, between 6 and 9.30. A bottle after all is only 3/4 average sized glasses.

I do accept however that there is a problem that a bottle becomes a base and on special occasions - when friends come for dinner, big sporting event, night out etc, perhaps once every two weeks one bottle becomes two and then I feel like have slightly poisoned myself...

I would say your risk is not with the alcohol, but with your sugar intake, which could lead to type 2 diabetes . You need to check your sugar levels 

You know the old guidance was 21 units a week right? Not 60

That article says at one point it was 56 units for a bloke.

Yeah, 40 years ago.

We used to think smoking was good for us fgs

Can’t believe some of the [email protected] I’m reading on here. Roll out a few doctors to exaggerate risks and try to get the country to be even more puritanical and a bunch of people on here start nodding along sagely. I’m not an alcoholic in any way but go way above these silly limits, as does probably most Spaniard, Frenchman and sane English lawyer.

 "would say your risk is not with the alcohol, but with your sugar intake, which could lead to type 2 diabetes . You need to check your sugar levels" 

Really? my understanding was that alcohol was not really a contributing factor to contracting diabetes.

Wilfred, it seems to me that the thread is almost universally doing the opposite of what you are saying and is sceptical of the recommended limits.

Interesting point about whether people throw away booze in any kind of quantity.  I certainly do as I might open a bottle of wine for a glass after work on a Friday night then be out over the weekend and pour three quarters of down the sink on Monday on the basis it's probably past its best and I'm not going to be drinking it during the week.

summers you would save money by getting a wine stopper or buying miniature bottles of wine -throwing away 3/4 of a bottle seems a bit mental.

I've tried explaining to my parents that I don't drink when I'm home on my own but my dad insists on still giving me wine for every birthday and Christmas so at any given time I've got a couple of dozen bottles kicking around.

I'm not a huge wine drinker anyway and usually if I'm not out on a Friday I'll just have a beer as that's just the right size for a drink to chill out with after a busy week.  Some times there's no beer so I'll crack open one of the many wines and have a glass but by the time I next fancy a glass I realise it's been open for days so bin it.  Guy even with a stopper I wouldn't drink wine that's been open for a week.

I don't know if you are a cook but stopped wine keeps well enough for cooking purposes for quite a while


Don't do a great deal of cooking as currently I'm only home in London three or so nights a weeks and probably out one of them.  Even then cooking for one it takes a few dishes to get through most of a bottle a splash at a time.

This is a bit like the sugar tax. We don't value everything in terms of whether it will shorten our lives. We value things in terms of whether, on balance, they enhance our lives. 

Doctors need to know when to STFU

True - debate about alcohol is all about the harmful effects - it doesn't seem to be weighed up against the benefits, many of the best times in my life, and great relationships and friendships would not have happened in the first place without alcohol.

Alcohol is the great leveller for us ugly blokes, it’s benefits are endless.