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Heart-healthy red wine is an ‘old wives’ tale,’ UK’s top health official says


The UK may be known for its pubs, but when it comes to alcohol, health officials across the pond are laying out tougher guidelines than ever before.

While the FDA maintains that moderate alcohol consumption isn’t just safe, but may boost health, new guidelines in the U.K. are calling drinking a big health hazard that can even increase cancer risk, The New York Times reports.

How much is too much? The country’s new guidelines suggest both men and women should limit themselves to about 14 units of alcohol per week (which equals seven glasses of wine, or six pints of beer, or half a bottle of whiskey).

Not exactly a call for teetotaling! But Britain’s chief medical officer, Sally Davies, called the reputed health benefits of red wine “an old wives’ tale” and encouraged people to choose tea (though maybe not this one!) instead—citing alcohol’s potential connection to breast and bowel cancer. (Maybe she would be OK with this “red wine” without the alcohol?)

Other experts are skeptical, noting that alcohol has been shown to reduce heart disease risk and actually extend your life when consumed moderately and responsibly. The CDC says it’s perfectly safe for women to consume up to one drink a day, and for men to have two. A drink is defined as a 12-ounce beer or 5-ounce glass of wine.

If the UK’s skepticism has you questioning your happy hour habit, maybe it’s time to seriously consider the health benefits of giving up booze for a few weeks. Dry January may not be such a bad idea after all. —Amy Marturana

(Photo: FoodiesFeed)