Intended for healthcare professionals


How much and how often should we drink?

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 25 May 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1224
  1. Annie Britton (, senior lecturer
  1. Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London WC1E 6BT

    Interpret with caution new evidence on frequency and amount of men's drinking

    People choose to drink alcohol for all sorts of reasons, from toasting the happy couple to drowning sorrows and numbing pain. Few people choose to drink primarily to reduce their risk of coronary heart disease. However, the paper by Tolstrop and colleagues on p 1244 will be welcomed by many.1 The authors studied more than 50 000 Danish men and women and report that to gain maximum cardioprotective benefit from alcohol, it doesn't matter how much men drink as long as they drink every day. I can hear the corks popping already, but before pouring the next glass and at the risk of being a wet—or should that be dry—blanket, it is worth bearing several caveats in mind.

    Firstly, this finding applied only to men. For women it was the amount of alcohol consumed, regardless of frequency, that was the primary determinant …

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