New drinking guidelines

ABA has “real concerns” about new drinking guidelines

December 17, 2019
By Alana House

Alcohol Beverages Australia (ABA) has expressed concern about confusing new drinking guidelines published by the National Health and Medical Research Council  (NHMRC).

According to the ABA there are also “legitimate concerns still to be answered about the conflicts of interest of contractors and certain members of the review panel in drafting these guidelines”.

Andrew Wilsmore, CEO of Alcohol Beverages Australia (below), added: “For those who choose to drink, these Draft Guidelines provide a complicated picture to understand how to manage your long-term risk.”

Andrew Wilsmore Alcohol Beverages Australia

According to the ABA, if you are a male drinking daily, you can have 20.2 standard drinks a week – equivalent to 2.9 standard drinks on each day. If, however, you limit your drinking to three times a week, you can have 12.5 standard drinks in a week (4.1 drinks on each occasion).

If you are a female who chooses to drink daily you can have 15.3 standard drinks per week, equivalent to 2.2 drinks each day. If, however, you limit your drinking to three times a week, you can have 10.5 standard drinks in a week (3.5 drinks on each occasion).

“The headline NHMRC advice to limit consumption to 10 standard drinks per week is based on modelling that assumes most Australians drink three times per week. However, the NHMRC admits that ‘these estimates remain highly uncertain.’

“The only simple thing in these new Guidelines is the unchanged recommendation to drink no more than four-standard drinks to reduce your short-term harm.

“Positively these Guidelines have shown once again that the moderate consumption of alcohol has a legitimate place as a normal part of Australian society.

“With ABS consumption at 50-year lows, most Australians managing the risks associated with harmful consumption of alcohol with moderation being the new norm.

“Not only are they hard to understand for the ordinary Australian, there are real concerns over the impartiality of certain contractors and members of the panel tasked to review the guidelines, due to their background with anti-alcohol and temperance organisations.

“This has seen a very one-sided view against the cardio-protective benefits of moderate consumption, which has in turn influenced the outcomes.”

The draft drinking guidelines are open for public comment until February 24, 2020.  Alcohol Beverages Australia will be closely reviewing the content of the draft drinking guidelines and providing a written submission by the due date.

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