Alcohol Guidelines Revised
The Irish guidelines regarding alcohol consumption were quietly reduced in July of this year, without any major national media campaign.
The Department of Health reduced the maximum recommended intake for men from 21 to 17 units per week and for women, it was reduced from 14 to 11 units per week.
These new changes form part of the revised Food Pyramid i.e. our healthy eating guide.
So why have the limits been lowered in Ireland?
Alcoholic drinks are essentially liquid calories and if consumed to excess without adequate physical activity, it can contribute to worsening our obesity problem; 70% of men, over 50% of women and 25% of children are now overweight or obese.
The recently published results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC Study) found that aprox. 1 of 10 cancers in men and 1 of 33 cancers in women can be directly attributed to excessive alcohol consumption. The types of cancers which are directly related to alcohol intake include mouth, oesophagus, liver, colorectal, and breast cancer in women.
In addition, alcoholic liver disease is unfortunately on the rise, particularly amongst those aged 18-35 years.
What counts as 1 “unit” of alcohol?
½ pint of beer, lager or cider (175 calories)
A single pub measure of spirits (75 calories)
A small 100ml glass of wine (85 calories)
For better health and weight management, both men and women should aim to consume less than the new reduced guidelines.
From the Vinyards…
There is growing evidence that red wine consumed in moderation may help protect against some cancers and heart disease. It has been found that wine contains antioxidant compounds e.g. gallic acid and catechins which prevent cell damage.
However, it is likely that the health benefits of wine are related to the non alcoholic components rather than the alcohol itself. Remember to take it easy on the vino, as 1 bottle usually contains 8 units of alcohol!
Written By: Ellen Roche MINDI Consultant Dietitian
Nutri Vive Nutrition Clinic,
No. 49 John St, Kilkenny
Published: 7th Nov 2012 – The Kilkenny Reporter Newspaper