New health advice says more than two drinks a week a ‘risk’
America’s buzzkill next door has issued radical new health advice stating there’s no such thing as “safe” drinking, urging imbibers to curb consumption as much as possible.
The eyebrow-raising edict, from a government agency called The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, encourages no drinking whatsoever, while allowing that 1-2 standard-sized drinks per week is the maximum for those hoping to avoid a range of unsavory side-effects ranging from cancer to heart disease.
“Research shows that no amount or kind of alcohol is good for your health,” the authors wrote. “Drinking alcohol, even a small amount, is damaging to everyone, regardless of age, sex, gender, ethnicity, tolerance for alcohol or lifestyle.”
The anti-booze directive — echoing a recent report released by the World Health Organization — represents a dramatic change from Canadian guidance issued in 2011, which classified consumption of 15 or fewer drinks per week for men and 10 for women as low risk, The Guardian reported.
The advice is also a stark departure from current CDC guidelines, which allow for two drinks or fewer a day for men and one or fewer for women.
“This isn’t about prohibition,” guideline panel member Peter Butt told the paper. “We wanted to simply to present the evidence to the Canadian public, so they could reflect on their drinking and make informed decisions. It’s fundamentally based on the right to know.”
Drinkers who enjoy three to six drinks per week risk developing “several types of cancer including breast and colon cancer,” the report stated.
People who have over seven drinks a week see “significantly” increased risks of heart disease or stroke, it warns.
The agency stated that “not drinking has benefits, such as better health, and better sleep.”
Some Canadian experts, however, would prefer to see the new advice put on ice.
“The research they’re using also ignores the enjoyment and pleasure and stress relief and collegiality associated with alcohol. None of those things are in the calculation whatsoever,” Dan Malleck, a professor of health sciences at Ontario’s Brock University told The Guardian, calling the guidance “irresponsible.”
“We aren’t just machines with inputs and output of chemicals or nutrition. We actually exist in a social space. And that has a significant impact on our health.”
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