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One alcohol free day a week makes no difference hears Wine Vision debate

Published:  21 November, 2013

Having one alcohol free day per week has no health benefits, according to a leading doctor.

Having one alcohol free day per week has no health benefits, according to a leading doctor at this week's global wine conference Wine Vision.

Dr Erik Skovenborg, who is a member of The International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research and Social Scientific and Medical Council member of AIM (Alcohol in Moderation) said he couldn't find any evidence to support the notion of a drink-free day.

Helena Conibear, executive director of AIM said Chief Medical Officer (CMO) guidelines, which are currently under review, are widely expected to introduce an alcohol-free day. According to Conibear, the idea of this is to reduce addiction risk. She said: "The CMO has two medical groups who are amassing and hearing evidence and we are expecting proposals in January."

When asked by Conibear during a Wine Vision panel discussion if there was any health benefit to an alcohol free day, Skovenborg said: "I am trying to find evidence of a benefit and I have found none. It has no effect on health providing you drink in moderation."

Conibear said those lobbying for at least one alcohol free day are not using a medical basis for their argument but one that suggests it would help prevent the likelihood of addiction and habitual drinking.

Skovenborg outlined the difficulty in producing credible scientific evidence and he warned against 'expert opinion' that had no scientific basis.

But he said the biological understanding of wine and how the body processes alcohol has improved. It is widely recognised that red wine contains antioxidants that help protect against free radicals that cause a variety of problems including heart disease.

Skovenborg emphasised that any benefits were only applicable to moderate drinkers and excess or 'binge' drinking is not good for your health.

"I think marketing based on quality instead of quantity with increased health consciousness will also increase the value of the wine industry," Skovenborg finished.