The new Australian drinking guidelines recommend that both women AND men drink no more than two standard drinks a day over their lifetime to reduce the risk of an alcohol-related injury or disease.

The guidelines from Australia’s peak health body, the NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) are the result of 3 years of extensive analysis of the best available scientific evidence.
Excessive alcohol can cause high blood pressure, many cancers, liver disease, obesity, mental health problems and many other illnesses. It also results in accidents, injuries and social disruption.
3 other major recommendations
1. Single session limit
A limit of 4 standard drinks in any one session reduces the risk of alcohol-related injury on that occasion.
2. Children and adolescents
People under 18 years are advised not to drink at all
3. Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Not drinking at all is the safest option. Alcohol can harm the foetus and breastfeeding baby.
What is a standard drink?
A standard drink is


• 1 middy/pot of full-strength beer (285ml)
• 100ml wine
• 30ml nip spirits
(Note that many drink serving sizes are often more than one standard drink)

Its up to you


The guidelines are not telling what you can or can’t do. They aim to explain the risks of alcohol so you can make an informed choice.

Speak to your GP if you are finding it difficult to decrease or stop drinking.

Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol, NHMRC, 2009

Health Update: 12 March 2009


Please note this information was correct at time of publication.
For up to date information, speak to your doctor.
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