NEW guidelines have been released that recommend men and women can have up to four standard drinks a day, but no more 10 alcoholic beverages a week.
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has released the newly revised guidelines on reducing health risks from drinking alcohol for public comment until February 24, 2020.
CEO Anne Kelso said the guidelines had been developed over the past three years using the best health evidence available.
“We’re not telling Australians how much to drink,” she said.
“We’re providing advice about the health risks from drinking alcohol so that we can all make informed decisions in our daily lives.
“In 2017 there were more than 4,000 alcohol-related deaths in Australia, and across 2016/17 more than 70,000 hospital admissions.
“Alcohol is linked to more than 60 medical conditions, particularly numerous cancers.
“So, we all need to consider the risks when we decide how much to drink.”
Previous advice recommended that healthy men and women drink no more than two standard drinks on any day to reduce the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury.
Professor Kelso said the new guidelines also have stronger recommendations that adolescents under the age of 18 do not drink and for pregnant women to not drink alcohol at all.
“There is no known ‘safe’ or ‘no-risk’ level of drinking alcohol for children and young people aged under 18 years,” she said.
“Alcohol can harm the way the brain develops, increase the risk of injury and other immediate harms, and increase the risk of developing alcohol-related conditions later in life.
“In pregnant women to reduce the risk of harm to their unborn child, women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should not drink alcohol.
“For women who are breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is safest for their baby.
“We need to keep in mind that while the risk of harm to the fetus is likely to be slight when the mother drinks small amounts of alcohol (less than one standard drink per day) there is not enough evidence to know for sure whether the fetus will be safe from harm, even at this low amount of alcohol.
“That is why we recommend not drinking alcohol.”