Updated 09:18 | Published at 09:17
Four small strong beers at one time once a month. If you drink more, you should be offered care.
That is the bid for both men and women in the National Board of Health and Welfare’s new alcohol recommendations for health care.
For the men, this means a clear tightening compared to before.
The new recommendations from the National Board of Health and Welfare are that the health and medical services should offer support to those who drink ten standard glasses or more per week, or four standard glasses or more per occasion once a month or more often. A standard glass corresponds to a small strong beer or a small glass of wine.
If you drink more than that, it is classified as risky use.
For women, this means no change compared to the previous recommendations. But for men, it means a reduction of five standard glasses per week and one standard glass per occasion.
Increased cancer risk
The reason why the recommendations are now being tightened for men is that research in the field shows that they run a greater risk than previously thought of suffering from alcohol-related injuries, according to Thomas Lindén, head of department at the National Board of Health and Welfare.
– It shows that, in addition to the risk of addiction and damage to the brain and liver, there is also an increased risk of cancer that is better mapped now than it has been in the past, he says.
According to Thomas Lindén, why the limits for risky use of alcohol were higher for men than for women in the previous recommendations was due to the fact that women have a higher blood alcohol concentration than men with the same consumption.
– But what we have now taken in is that men have a greater health risk with the same consumption. They also suffer to a greater extent from accidents in connection with alcohol consumption, he says.
There are no specific alcohol recommendations for breastfeeding women, which has been a controversial topic over the years. The group is not included in the new recommendations.
– The Swedish Food Agency will update the Swedish dietary advice based on the new Nordic nutritional recommendations from 2023. These include the group of breastfeeding women.
According to Lindén, however, there is no research to date that indicates risks for the child to ingest alcohol from the breast milk of a woman who drinks alcohol at this level.
The research diverges
According to the Nordic nutritional recommendations (NNR), one should refrain from alcohol altogether, as there is no safe limit for alcohol consumption.
TT: Why do the National Board of Health and Welfare’s recommendations differ from NNR’s?
– You cannot set a limit when it is harmless to drink alcohol, but at a lower consumption, the studies differ too much for us to be able to make such a recommendation, says Thomas Lindén.
The recommendations are part of the National Board of Health and Welfare’s national guidelines for healthy lifestyles and should therefore serve as guidance within health care. But private individuals should consider their overall risk of various factors, of which alcohol is a part, according to Thomas Lindén.
– Private individuals should take in all the information available, the more alcohol you drink, the greater the health risks, he says.
– But we turn to the health and medical care so that they are guided in what level of alcohol consumption it is reasonable to offer support at, for example with support calls or something else.
FACTS The National Board of Health’s recommendations
According to the National Board of Health and Welfare’s recommendations, the healthcare system should offer support to people who have a risky use of alcohol.
Risky use of alcohol is defined as drinking any of the following: 10 standard glasses or more per week, or 4 standard glasses or more per drinking occasion once a month or more often. The limits are the same for both men and women.
However, there are times when alcohol should be avoided completely, for example before the age of 18, during pregnancy and before an operation.
A standard glass of alcohol contains 12 grams of pure alcohol. This corresponds to, for example, 50 cl of folk beer, 33 cl of strong beer, a small glass of wine or 4 cl of spirits.
The National Board of Health and Welfare previously classified consumption that exceeds 14 standard glasses per week for men and 9 standard glasses for women as risky consumption, i.e. 15 and 10 glasses respectively.
Source: National Board of Health and Welfare