Britons who are used to enjoying evenings at home with a bottle of wine should now thing twice before taking that extra sip of alcohol, for a Government survey has claimed that such regular drinking is putting the lives of over 7 million middle-class drinkers at risk.
The new General Household Survey is a poll of the adults in almost 13,000 homes, and is conducted by the Office for National Statistics.
AdvertisementAnd the survey has claimed that middle aged, professional Britons have a higher tendency to exceed recommended daily levels of alcohol consumption than the working-classes, with twice as many drinking every night of the week.
But, keeping in mind the increasing strength of alcoholic drinks and the trend for larger measures, the government has put in place new measurements to calculate the intake of alcohol.
Thus, one large glass of wine now counts as three units, a medium glass as two and a small glass as one-and-a-half.
Men are advised to consume no more than three or four units in any one day, while women are told not to have more than two or three.
However, the survey revealed that 37 per cent of adults regularly exceed this benchmark.
According to the researchers, many middle class drinkers insist they know what the safe level of alcohol consumption is, which means that they do not believe they are drinking too much
The study also claimed that middle class drinkers are more likely to indulge in "heavy" drinking, which means drinking double the recommended daily limit on a given evening.
In the survey, almost one in four middle-class drinkers admitted to drinking to this level at least once a week, which equates to a man having three pints of strong lager or a woman drinking two large glasses of wine.
However, many middle class professionals are unlikely to regard half a bottle of wine a night as heavy drinking.
"These statistics lift the lid on the very serious scale of middle-class alcohol consumption, and the potential health risks that this involves," The Telegraph quoted Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrats' spokesman on health, as saying.
He added: "While attention has rightly been on the massive problem of young people binge-drinking, a hidden epidemic among the middle classes has gone unnoticed. The Government has continued to massively under-fund alcohol treatment services, meaning this problem has been allowed to continue unabated."