Drinkers should have no more than half a glass of wine a day or risk dying from alcohol-related diseases Picture: File

Drinkers should have no more than half a glass of wine a day or risk dying from alcohol-related diseases, a global health expert has warned.
Professor Jürgen Rehm, who advises the World Health Organisation, said the UK guideline of a maximum of14 units of alcohol a week for both sexes should be cut to seven.

A unit equates to half a pint of regular lager or half a 175ml glass of wine.

Professor Rehm likened drinking to playing roulette. He said: “If you have a substance which can cause cancer then it’s basically a roulette. With every drink, you have a chance of cancer. The more drinks you ingest, the more chances of cancer.”

He said a maximum of just one unit a day should be the new norm.

“One drink a day, that’s what the science says, I’m sorry. We’ve done the calculations based on the mortality figures. One unit a day, which is eight grams of alcohol.

“You can look at what would happen if someone drinks one, two, three or four drinks a day for ten to 15 years and the increase in deaths comes in after around ten grams a day.

“Low risk in the UK would be one drink a day.”

But a spokesperson for the Alcohol Information Partnership, an industry group, said: “The UK has one of the lowest recommended levels of alcohol consumption at 14 units a week. It would be surprising if the guidelines changed again.

Most people in the UK drink moderately. Where there are problems with harmful drinking, we think targeted interventions are often much more effective than blanket measures.”

In 2010, there were around 301000 deaths due to alcohol in Europe, a total which fell to 291000 in 2016. And 29% of deaths from alcohol are caused by cancer.

Professor Rehm, who is based at the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research in Toronto, was speaking at the European Alcohol Policy Conference in Edinburgh.

Daily Mail