After I wrote the previous article I did a little searching around on the internet and found the House of Common's report by which the new Government guidelines are based which can be found here. I just thought I'd post a selection of snippets from the evidence section to highlight my earlier point.
"There is a lack of consensus amongst experts over the health benefits of alcohol, but it is not clear from the current evidence base how the benefits of drinking alcohol at low quantities compare to those of lifelong abstention."
In other words, there is no evidence either way.
"We have heard sufficient concerns from experts to suggest that a thorough review of the evidence on alcohol and health risks is due."
So essentially since they have no evidence they are calling for a review.
One of the most interesting things I could find was this little graph which I think they have gotten from the International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research, a part of the University of Boston's School of Medicine, and Alcohol in moderation who state on their website (found here)
"The Forum consists of an international group of invited physicians and scientists who are specialists in their fields and committed to balanced and well researched analysis regarding alcohol and health. The Forum includes epidemiologists, statisticians, and basic scientists; cardiologists, hepatologists, neurologists, oncologists, and other medical practitioners; psychologists and social scientists; and specialists in social matters, psychology, and public health."
Sound like a fairly credible organisation to me. Much more credible than a Government funded lobby group like alcohol concern.
Now, to the graph itself. It doesn't really need a huge amount of explanation; the graph quite clearly shows that from their data the relative risk of mortality is minimum for both men and women when around 0.5 drinks a day is the average consumption. It is also necessary to point out that the relative risk only meets that of abstention, even taking the lowest confidence interval, for men around 3.75 drinks a day and for women at around 2 drinks per day. Now if we say the average drink has around 2 units in that would mean that if a man was to drink 7.5, or a woman 4, units a day their relative risk of mortality would still only equal that of the case of abstention. So where oh where have the Government plucked these 2-3 for women and 3-4 for men from? It truely does baffle me that this is clearly stated in the same Government report they use to campaign for reducing the guidelines.