Drinking a glass of red wine a day might not keep the doctor away after all. The U.K.’s chief medical officers now say any amount of alcohol can increase the risk of cancer, according to BBC. New guidelines now recommend that men and women who drink regularly should consume no more than 14 units of alcohol per week. This is equivalent to six pints of beer, seven glasses of wine, or 14 single shots of spirits.
According to the new guidelines, pregnant women should not drink at all, and drinking should be moderate and spread over three or more days, leaving some days completely alcohol-free. “Saving up” units and binge drinking is not recommended. Previous guidelines in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland discouraged pregnant women from drinking, but if they drink, they should consume no more than one or two units of alcohol once or twice a week.
Previously, guidelines set out daily rather than weekly drinking limits. This change is thought to move people away from the idea that drinking every day is fine, says BBC. Old guidelines set limits to 21 units weekly for men and 14 units for women, while new guidelines do not differentiate between the sexes and move limits to the lower end of this spectrum. 14 units was selected as studies suggest that at this level, drinking leads to a one percent risk of dying from alcohol-related causes.
England's Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, says, “Drinking any level of alcohol regularly carries a health risk for anyone, but if men and women limit their intake to no more than 14 units a week it keeps the risk of illness like cancer and liver disease low.” The new guidelines have been set to help people make more informed decisions regarding their drinking, according to the latest scientific information.