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Friday 20 January 2023

Canadians warned to cut down on alcohol consumption

Canadians have been given a stark health warning and told to limit themselves to a maximum of two alcoholic drinks a week. 

Not two alcoholic drinks per hour. Two per week. 

New national guidelines released this week also say that “any amount of alcohol is not good for your health”.

The report by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) was issued after two years of research, a review of nearly 6,000 studies and a survey of around 1,000 members of the public.

Funded in part by Health Canada, it says drinking alcohol, including wine, represents an increased risk in negative outcomes, including various cancers.

Canada defines a ‘standard’ drink as a bottle of beer, glass of wine, a single shot of spirits or a bottle of cider.

In 2011, a report named Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines recommended a maximum of 10 drinks a week for women and 15 drinks for men. 

So either alcohol has become more dangerous, or the experts have become smarter, or perhaps more cautious. 

Dr Erin Hobin, a member of the panel of experts responsible for putting together the guidance document, said:  “The main message from this new guidance is that any amount of alcohol is not good for your health.

"And if you drink, less is better.”

The Canadian drinks industry went into positive spin mode. 

"We're encouraging people to track the number of standard drinks that they're consuming and to make informed decisions about alcohol and their health," said Rob Taylor, a spokesman for Wine Growers Canada, which was not involved in the survey.

CJ Helie, president of Beer Canada, said to CTV News that the industry was voluntarily advising people to moderate their drinking, rendering health warning labels unnecessary.

“A number of Canadian brewers, including a number of our members, have voluntary health warning labels or pictographs on packaging dealing with warnings against drinking while pregnant and driving while intoxicated,” he said.

Image: Marie Dashkova,

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