Racking my brains for a topic to interest weekend readers…. I felt I was on a pretty safe wicket raising the question of wine drinking and, indeed, drinking in general – and, unlike other activities reported in the Press this week, it generally only requires the use of one hand.
The New Cromwellians, advised by “Dr No”, who are trying to run our lives now have their eyes on ‘binge drinkers’ – by which ‘they’ really mean anyone who drinks more than 21 units a week (14 for women). Mick Hume, writing in The Times, has done some useful research. The British define a unit of alcohol as 8 grams of ethanol
He reports that in Denmark a unit of alcohol is defined as 12 grams and the Japanese define a unit as 19.5 grams. ‘Safe’ drinking is, therefore, defined differently throughout the world.
So… in Britain the weekly limit is 168 grams (112g for women). In Ireland it is 210 grams … rising in Denmark to 252 grams. The Catalans recommend a maximum of 350 grams of ethanol and the Basques, which may well explain some of their ideas, regard 70 grams a day or 490 grams a week as a safe maximum.
The Maths is fairly straightforward. Using the British 8 gram definition we can safely drink 31.5 glasses of wine a week in Denmark whereas in Barcelona we are safe at 43.75 glasses of wine… 6.25 glasses of wine a day – and even more if we wish to be Basque.
I find this encouraging – but having talked with a serious Harley Street specialist about alcohol a year ago (When I had a medical condition not connected with alcohol consumption!), I discovered that he would not be worried, health wise, if I drank four bottles of wine a day. (He did express the view that I may not be able to work particularly well)
So… why are we in Britain being told by our Department of Health and MRSA that we are binge drinkers if we exceed a mere 3 glasses of wine a day (2 for women) ?
As it is rare to see so called ‘middle class’ wine drinkers older than 25 staggering around Brighton, Soho or any other major city centre after closing, parking tigers on the pavement and causing breaches of the peace, I think it is time to disregard the advice of the New Cromwellians and take a more ‘continental line’ on drinking – and drink more. This weekend I plan to be Catalan… but, I may have to be a Basque.
If, after drinking at Basque levels, I find myself wanting to go to The Rocky Horror Show and dress in a basque… I’ll let you know.