Alcohol Beverages Australia (ABA) has expressed its disappointment at the final drinking guidelines released by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHRMC), which recommend Australians consume no more than 10 drinks a week.
As reported earlier this week, ABA said that some government funded research used to underpin the NHMRC’s draft guidelines was not included in the draft report.
The ABA says the 10-drink-a-week guideline, which is based on drinking three days a week, is a “serious departure” from previous guidelines which gave recommendations for drinking across seven days a week.
ABA CEO Andrew Wilsmore said; “Australians should have no faith in these guidelines when they have cherry-picked a number for a woman who drinks three days a week as the advice for all Australians. This is a serious departure from previous guidelines which provided recommendations for an individual drinking across all days of the week.
“Had the NHMRC not set out to deliberately lower the guidelines it would be advising men they could be consuming up to 20 drinks a week if they spread their drinking out over seven days.
“The NHMRC defends this highly suspect approach as being scientifically rigorous, but we question how this is possible when the Panel chosen to review the guidelines is hopelessly conflicted with its members representing temperance or anti-alcohol activist groups.”
Wilsmore added: “Key information on the health benefits of moderate consumption are censored from the guidelines including the fact that cardio protective effects saves 3500 Australian lives annually; and that Australians can consume up to 28 drinks a week and have the same risk of dying as a tee-totaller.
“We welcome guidelines, but they must be properly informed and transparent. The NHMRC recommendations help determine harmful levels of consumption and are extremely important but they must have credibility within both the health community and the public.
“This is a missed opportunity for Australians to be fully informed on their risks of drinking alcohol on the number of days they chose to and whether they are male or female. Most Australians drink alcohol for enjoyment, relaxation, and sociability, and do so responsibly and alcohol consumption is now at a 50-year low.”
As well as recommending no more than 10 drinks a week the guidelines also recommend no more than four standard drinks in any one day and that for some people not drinking at all is the safest option.