Millions of adults fool themselves into thinking they are modest drinkers when they down enough to be classed as ‘bingers’, a study suggests.
It found a huge mismatch between the amount of alcohol we say we are consuming and what is actually being bought.
When the two figures are compared, 40 per cent of sales are unaccounted for.
The study suggests that around half the adult population are binge drinkers.
However, only 13 per cent of women and 22 per cent of men admit to being in this category.
Using a complicated computer model, academics at University College London tried to estimate the true amount being drunk.
They based it on two sets of official data on alcohol consumption – the Health Survey for England and the General Lifestyle Survey – which covered 22,000 adults.
Their study – published in the European Journal of Public Health – found that 80 per cent of women and 75 per cent of men who often drank alcohol were binge drinkers.
That came to 43 per cent of all women and 51 per cent of men, once teetotallers and those who rarely drink are included.
Yet the latest figures compiled by the Government gave figures of just 13 per cent and 22 per cent.
Many of us are consuming far more than we realise and regularly exceed the recommended limits.
Guidelines from the Department of Health state that women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week while men should not exceed 21.
A unit is a small glass of wine, half a pint of lager or a measure of spirits.
The guidelines also classify a binge drinker as a woman who drinks six units at least one day a week or a man who drinks eight units.
Sadie Boniface, lead author of the study and based at the department of epidemiology and public health at UCL, said: ‘This study was conducted to show what alcohol consumption would look like when all of what is sold is accounted for, if everyone under-reported equally.
‘What is seen in the surveys and sales potentially has enormous implications for public health.’
2013 Miles in 2013
I am doing my 2013 miles in 2013 challenge in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust as I have been surprised since I started fundraising for the CF Trust just how many people are unaware of this disease and so I hope my efforts will not just raise money, but also awareness of the UK’s most most common life-threatening inherited disease.
The first person to commit to sponsoring my 2013 mile challenge has committed to 1p per mile (£20.13 in total) and this got me thinking. I am hoping that as many as possible of those reading this will commit to do the same and the best thing is, if each person does this on a “pay as you go” type approach all you will need to part with is approx £2 just after each pay day. In January I completed 205.9 miles, so if you can please spare £2.06 to help the Cystic Fibrosis Trust it will be greatly appreciated.
The easiest way to give your sponsorship is to visit my Just Giving page: http://www.justgiving.com/2012-AYearWithoutBeer-CF.
2013 Miles in 2013 – The rules
The rules for my 2013 miles in 2013 challenge are quite simple:
- All miles must be completely self powered (no motors, sails, etc)
- I must be able to evidence all miles, either via GPS or with a picture of any static gym equipment
To complete my 2013 miles I will be running, cycling, rowing and who knows, I might even try a few other self powered methods along the way.