1952-2012 austerity & celebrations, is alcohol the new tea?

In 1952 the UK was still recovering from the devastation that occurred during the second world war, but there was an air of optimism for the future. During the war food was rationed and this rationing was still in place during the first part of the 1950’s and in 1952 tea rationing was lifted, but staple food, such as bananas, were still in very short supply. So being able to have unlimited cuppas must have been luxurious and I am sure I would have struggled to ration my cups of tea, an English staple. I recall after an operation, or being starved for medical procedures and scans the first drink I always crave is a cup of tea – tastes so refreshing. We are currently undergoing a new period of austerity, not as a result of a war, but as a result of excessive spending. So this weekends diamond jubilee celebrations are a bit of a distraction, and welcome at that, for all we seem to hear is doom and gloom. But what do you think we are using as a celebration drink? Tea? Probably not.

Having to go for my usual weekly shop at the supermarket I was astounded with the amount of alcohol in the store. Large boxes of cans of beer and lager from floor to ceiling and more alcopops in crates waiting to replace the overstacked, groaning shelves. Whilst I do not begrudge anyone having a small celebratory drink, and I shall probably join in – we do have a problem in excessive rates of alcoholic liver disease in this country, which has very high rates of mortality and morbidity. The problem is that you may not have much warning about it until the damage is done. I don’t wish to be a party pooper  – so have a party this weekend if you want to celebrate, think about how much alcohol you SHOULD have for your health – have a soft drink in between alcoholic ones. It is difficult today to know what a unit of alcohol is, as portion sizes, like those of food, have increased enormously in recent years, in our ever-increasing indulgence in excess. Wine has increased from 125ml to 175ml to 250ml, using a 125 ml glass may reduce your intake, does anyone drink wine spritzers, or shandy? Another way of reducing your intake is by diluting your drinks.

Click on the following link to calculate how many units are in your drinks and remember no one wants to be moribund on the sofa with a pounding head and sick digestive system tomorrow! So lift up your spritzer or shandy and toast the jubilee ;-)!

  • Men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol a day.
  • Women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day.
  • If you’ve had a heavy drinking session, avoid alcohol for 48 hours.

‘Regularly’ means drinking this amount every day or most days of the week. ( http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/alcohol/Pages/alcohol-units.aspx)

http://www.drinkaware.co.uk/tips-and-tools/drink-diary/?gclid=CNjU6I3Mpa0CFegmtAodmHgrlA

About Jules_GastroRD

I am a state registered dietitian and advisor to The IBS Network, the UK charity for people with irritable bowel syndrome. My speciality is dietary treatment of gut disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, coeliac disease, lactose & fructose malabsorption and complex food intolerances. I have had lots of experience in other areas of dietetics and I wished to start this blog to spread the word about evidence based dietary treatments and dispel much of the quackery that is common with these diseases. All information on this site is of a general nature and is based on UK based treatments and guidelines. Please see your healthcare practitioner should you need more country specific information.
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3 Responses to 1952-2012 austerity & celebrations, is alcohol the new tea?

  1. Alex Gazzola says:

    I can no longer help leaning towards the belief that it is virtually pointless talking to people about alcohol units and safe levels. I genuinely think most people – those who drink a lot and those who drink moderately – just don’t care or take any notice. I also think it’s how we drink – after work, before food (sometimes instead of food) – that’s as (more?) important than how much we drink. Food moderates consumption, but culturally we don’t go out for a meal with colleagues – we go to the pub. I think that’s a huge part of the problem – though these are just my views and perhaps there’s research with which I’m unfamiliar which suggests otherwise.

    • I think you are making a very valid point Alex, the problem of excessive alcohol intake is multifactorial and very complex – society, culture, industry, politics – all have a role to play here. This does not absolve the individuals responsibility, just makes it more difficult for individuals to change behaviours. I think this topic is worthy of a separate post so I will have a look at the data. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Pingback: Alcohol is the anaesthesia by which we endure the operation of life – George Bernard Shaw | talkhealth Blog

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