The recommended low-risk threshold for avoiding negative health consequences from drinking depends on the sex of the drinker, their age, and whether they are drinking wine or spirits. In general, women should not drink more than 1-2 units a day of alcohol, while men should not drink more than 3-4 units a day of alcohol. For wine, this is about 125ml (4 units) for women and 175ml (5 units) for men. For spirits, it is 25ml (1 unit) for women and 35ml (1.5 units) for men.
For people drinking on more than one occasion, women should have no more than 14 units of alcohol in a week, while men should have no more than 21 units of alcohol in a week.
According to the NHS, the lowest risk of developing an alcohol-related health problem occurs in people who drink within the lower-risk limits or who don't drink at all.
The recommended low-risk threshold for avoiding negative health consequences from drinking also depends on whether someone is healthy and whether they are taking medication that might interact with alcohol. For instance, some medications for mental health problems should not be mixed with alcohol.
Alcohol can damage an unborn baby at any stage of pregnancy, so women are advised not to drink during pregnancy because there is no evidence that it is safe. For this reason, all women should be advised to avoid alcohol during pregnancy.
In addition, drinking a lot of alcohol can cause liver disease and heart disease, so it is advisable for people who have been diagnosed with one of these conditions to limit their intake of alcohol. In general, older people are more at risk from the effects of drinking too much. For instance, older people are more likely to take medications that can interact with alcohol.
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