Canadians are being told to limit their alcohol consumption to just two drinks a week, according to new guidelines from leading government advisers.
The Canada Center on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) recommended on Tuesday that the country’s 38 million people should not consume more than just two standard drinks per week. This was a big drop from 10 drinks a week for women and 15 for men.
Experts were quick to criticize the guide as “worse than useless” and said it “ignores” the benefits of drinking. Some feared the overblown guidelines were so ridiculous that people wouldn’t follow them and had hurt trust in health officials.
Canada’s advice also disagrees with many other countries, including the US, which say women can have up to seven standard drinks a week and men 14. In Australia, the policy allows up to 11 bottles of beer per week. It comes after a World Health Organization official warned earlier this week that no amount of alcohol is safe.
The above shows the maximum recommended weekly alcohol intake by country. The standards were compared to Canada, which considers a standard alcoholic beverage to be a 12-ounce bottle of beer or a 5-ounce glass of wine. This is the same measure as in the US
dr Erin Hobin, a senior scientist at the Canadian agency behind the guide, told the BBC: “The new guide may be a little shocking.
‘[But] The main message of these new guidelines is that heavy drinking is not good for your health. And when you drink, less is better.”
She added, “I think it’s very new information for the public that three standard drinks a week increases the risk of head and neck cancer by 15 percent and continues to increase with each additional drink.”
However, experts quickly took the step when Dr. Dan Malleck, professor of health sciences at Brock University in Ontario said: “[This guidance] is not useless, it is worse than useless. It will probably do harm.’
He added: “It will cause worry, anxiety and stress, and these are all strongly linked to harm to health.”
When asked if this would result in more people ignoring Canada’s health guidelines, he said: “Some people will disregard the recommendations, others will worry.”
The table above was published by Canadian Health Authorities to show how many beverages they classify as moderate or high risk
The above shows the standard measure of a drink in Canada
The CCSA considers a standard alcoholic beverage to be roughly a 12-ounce bottle of beer or a 5-ounce glass of wine.
It’s now said that having a drink or two a week is a “low risk” for Canadians.
But drinking three to six a week puts people at “moderate risk” of suffering from health problems.
The increase to seven or more drinks a week put people at “increasingly high risk,” the group says.
This means that the average Canadian is recommended not to drink at all, or if he does, to limit it to a maximum of one or two drinks per week.
The group updated the guidance in a 90-page report that was reviewed by two dozen scientists and claimed to have reviewed over 6,000 different studies.
However, other experts were quick to poke holes in his methodology, saying only 16 articles were viewed from the same train of thought.
The CCSA report was concerned about seven different types of cancer that could be linked to alcohol use.
At the top of the list were breast and colon cancers, followed by rectal, mouth and throat cancers, liver, esophagus and larynx cancers.
Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of the disease in Canada.
Doctors say that the main risk factors for the disease are older age, a family history of breast cancer, obesity, and having periods at a younger age.
The report likely sent shockwaves across Canada today, leaving many residents alarmed that they may have been drinking in unsafe amounts.
When asked about the guidelines in downtown London, Ontario, student Hailey Frank told CBC today: “It’s definitely concerning. I have a feeling that when most people drink, they tend to have more than two drinks, especially college students.
But others were more dismissive of the measures.
dr Dan Malleck, a public health expert at Brock University, said the guidance was “worse than useless.”
Another student, Cheryl Mason, told the publication, “I don’t think it’s going to stop anyone anyway. My grandparents definitely have more than two drinks a week and they’re fine.”
Resident Wayne White added: “I have mixed feelings because I live with my grandparents who drink wine every day. You are 97.’
Experts were quick to criticize the guidance, saying it was “irresponsible” and “ignoring” the benefits of drinking alcohol.
dr Malleck told : “I know people who are already concerned about their alcohol consumption because of these guidelines, and particularly concerned that they have already exceeded what these guidelines say are lifetime safe limits.
“So it’s going to cause worry, anxiety and stress, and these are all strongly linked to harm to health.”
He added Twitter: “I don’t need to tell you about your life, but alcohol fills many lives in many positive ways.
“We celebrate achievements, mark occasions, bring wine to parties, meet friends, commiserate, relax, let off steam… these are important activities and part of the texture and tone of many lives.
“I’m not saying you have to drink to enjoy life, but many people find it pleasant and enjoyable.”
Canada’s new guidelines are well below recommendations for other countries.
In the UK, health officials say people shouldn’t drink more than six pints or six glasses of wine a week.
This equates to about 10 Canadian-measure bottles of a standard beer, or seven glasses of wine. In the UK, a beer is around 16 ounces, while wine is around 6 ounces.
In Australia, health officials say people shouldn’t have more than 10 drinks a week. This equated to about 11 beers or seven glasses of wine compared to the Canadian measure.
France also says people shouldn’t drink more than 10 beers or wine a week. But in Canadian terms, that equated to about seven bottles of beer or seven glasses of wine a week.
The US, using the same measurements as Canada, says it’s safe for women to have ten bottles of beer or one glass of wine a week. Males can have 15 each.
The Canada Beer trade association has criticized Canada’s move and called for an expert panel to review the agency’s work.
A spokeswoman added: “Responsible, moderate consumption can be part of a balanced lifestyle for most adults of legal drinking age.
“However, excessive consumption and alcohol abuse should be avoided as they are associated with increased health risks that have long been well known.”
It is estimated that around two-thirds of Canadians drink alcohol.
By comparison, about 70 percent of people in the United States report drinking alcohol.
The CCSA also has strict guidelines for the use of marijuana — which is legal in Canada — and recommends using the drug no more than once a week.
Alcohol is now behind a FIFTH of deaths in adults under 50, CDC report finds
Alcohol use is linked to up to one in five deaths in the US from all causes, according to an official study – with states in the Plains having the highest mortality rates.
Research led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that between 2015 and 2019, there were approximately 90,000 deaths per year among adults ages 20 to 65 in which alcohol was an underlying or contributory cause.
Alcohol was responsible for 12 percent of deaths from all causes during the five-year period. Reduced to those aged 20 to 49, alcohol accounted for 20.3 percent of deaths.
Causes of death attributable to alcohol use include alcoholic liver disease, poisoning, automobile accidents, homicide, cirrhosis, and hypertension.
The numbers don’t include the time of the Covid pandemic, when stacks of studies suggest binge drinking has increased due to boredom and economic woes.
Alcohol use is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States.