Weird news out of Britain where researchers at Oxford have announced that you should only eat three beans at a single sitting:
People should drink just a half unit of alcohol daily in order to cut the number of deaths from cancer, liver disease and other conditions linked to drinking, health experts are urging. The government's safe drinking guidelines should be revised downwards to make the recommended limits much closer to half a unit – the equivalent of barely a quarter of a pint of lager – they say... But the half-unit suggestion, made in a new study in the medical journal BMJ Open, sparked claims that the idea is "extreme" and will be disregarded as unrealistic. Peter Scarborough and his three co-authors – researchers in the department of public health at Oxford University – said: "The optimum level of reduced chronic disease mortality in England would be achieved at an average alcohol consumption level of around five grammes a day, which should be taken into account in the formulation of health guidance.
Oh, it wasn't about beans. It was beer. Let's do the math. There are over 62,262,000 people in Britain. That is a lot. The advice given hopes to save 4,600 lives a year. Or 0.000074% of the population. That is not a lot. People live, say, 80 years on average. More than before. Which means this advice will benefit 0.00059% of the population over the normal span of a life - not taking population growth into account. By comparison, there were 493,242 deaths in just England and Wales in 2010 from a wide variety of causes. And 100% of British people were, in fact, mortal.
Who will take up this advice? People already not drinking very much at all. If I am wrong, please speak up. If you have been having your 14 or 21 of the weirdly unscientific units of alcohol and live in the UK and now plan to cut it down to the three beans at a sitting standard, speak up. Otherwise, drop it. Nothing will come of this. No one will shift. People will drink and, yes, people will die at a slowly but increasingly later point in their lives - in large part due to the other folk doing more sensible work in public health.