Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Bingeing on units

The news that we seem to be moving away from daily limits for alcohol should be welcomed.  The reasoning behind daily units was that a small amount of alcohol every day was good for you.  The only problem was that if you multiply the number of recommended daily units (2-3 for women, 4 for men) by seven, it takes you over the weekly limits (14 units for women, 21 for men).

One of the unremarked upon uses of daily units was to define binge drinking as consuming more than twice that amount in a day, that is 4-6 units for a woman or 8 units for a man.  The last time I went to my local health centre for a men's health check, the nurse asked me if I ever (not regularly) drank more than 8 units in a day.  As I said Yes - like most men I do drink more than four pints of beer in a day occasionally - she ticked the box on the computer screen labelled "binge drinker".  So I guess I'm now included in the Government stats that newsreaders come out with when discussing this week's initiative to combat "binge drinking".

Someone I used to work with went for the same men's health check.  The nurse asked him how many pints he drank in a week.  He told her and she said "That's quite a lot, maybe you should cut down a bit" and he thought to himself "Actually, I've told her what I drink in the week, I didn't include weekends."

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