Revision of the Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol
The Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol were released in 2020 by the National Health and Medical Research Council. Based on the latest evidence, the guidelines provide advice on how to keep the risk of harm from alcohol low. They refer to an Australian standard alcoholic drink (10 g ethanol).
- Guideline: To reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury, healthy men and women should consume no more than ten standard alcoholic drinks a week and no more than four standard alcoholic drinks on any one day. The less alcohol you drink, the lower your risk of harm from alcohol.
- Guideline: To reduce the risk of injury and other harms to health, children and people under 18 years of age should not consume alcohol.
- Guideline: To prevent harm from alcohol to their unborn child, women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should not consume alcohol. For women who are breastfeeding, not consuming alcohol is safest for their baby.
Changes as result of the guideline
The recommended limit for healthy adults changed from two standard alcoholic drinks per day (effectively 14 per week) to ten per week.
The new guideline states that the less alcohol you drink, the lower your risk of harm from alcohol. The recommended maximum on any one day remains four alcoholic drinks (clarified from previously “per drinking occasion”).
Guidance is clearer for pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for people aged less than 18 years, recommending not drinking alcohol.