The research, which was carried out on behalf of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), showed 63% of the GPs agreed that moderate alcohol consumption could be part of a healthy lifestyle.
This went against guidance from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England, Dame Sally Davies, which claimed that guideline levels should be the same for both men and woman, at 14 units a week, and that there was no safe level of alcohol consumption. Such a stance breaks with common international practice.
CAMRA has now questioned whether the CMO's advice is fit for purpose. The organisation's national chairman, Colin Valentine, said: “We made the observation, when the new guidelines were published, that the Chief Medical Officer had ignored evidence which showed moderate drinking can have a beneficial effect.”
CAMRA pointed out that various scientific studies had maintained that moderate drinking can have a protective effect against numerous health problems such as cognitive decline, certain forms of cancer and cardiovascular disease, but the new guidelines ignored this.
Valentine added: “Only recently, we commissioned a report from Oxford University ‘Friends on Tap’ which found those who had a local pub were happier, healthier, and felt more integrated in their communities than those without.
He also pointed to research which illustrated that the mortality rate of those who did not drink at all was higher than those who were moderate drinkers and he was not surprised GPs ‘overwhelmingly’ agree that drinking in moderation can be part of a healthy and good lifestyle.
Valentine concluded: “CAMRA is calling on the Department of Health to launch a full public consultation into whether the new alcohol health guidelines are fit for purpose and adequately supported by evidence.”