BRITISH official alcohol guidelines that were "plucked out of the air" wrongly suggest that we can drink almost daily with no ill-effects, say doctors.
They have been set too high and fail to take into account evidence showing that drinking only modest amounts raises the risk of cancer and other diseases.
Research for a BBC radio documentary found the present guidelines ("not much more than a pint of strong lager" for men, and "no more than a standard glass of wine" for women) were based on limited data.
A Harvard University study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2011, found that women who drank four small glasses of wine a week increased their risk of developing breast cancer by 15% compared with non-drinkers.
Another study published that year estimated that alcohol caused about 13000 cancers a year.
Last May, scientists published research recommending that people should cut consumption to 50ml of wine a day, or a quarter of a pint of beer. If everyone limited their intake in this way, 4600 lives a year would be saved, they calculated.
Dr Nick Sheron, a liver specialist at Southampton University, said: "The problem I have with the [British] government advice is that it normalises the fact that it's OK to have a drink on a daily basis, when that's really not the case."
Britain's government is now reviewing the alcohol consumption guidelines. ©The Daily Telegraph