TORONTO (TVC network) — Proposed new guidelines for alcohol consumption say Canadians should stick to a maximum of two drinks a week to reduce their risk of negative health consequences.
A report released Monday by the Canadian Center on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) follows two years of research and a review of more than 5,000 peer-reviewed studies, and says that alcohol, even in small amounts may be harmful.
Current Health Canada guidelines, which were also created by the CCSA and last updated in 2011, state that men should limit their alcohol consumption to a maximum of three drinks per day and 15 drinks per week. , while women should stick to a maximum of two drinks. per day and 10 glasses per week.
Under these guidelines, “one drink” is defined as 12 oz. of beer with 5 percent alcohol, 5 oz. of wine with 12 percent alcohol, or 1.5 oz. hard liquor at 40 percent alcohol.
But now the CCSA says that even three to six drinks a week can increase the risk of developing certain cancers, such as breast cancer or colon cancer, while more than seven drinks a week can increase the risk of developing a disease. heart and stroke.
“The risk of negative outcomes begins to increase with any drink, and with more than two standard drinks, most individuals will have an increased risk of injury or other problems,” the authors write in the report.
Cancer, CCSA notes, is the leading cause of death in Canada and alcohol can cause at least seven different types of cancer. Heart disease is the second leading cause of death, and the CCSA says research over the past decade has shown that alcohol can cause heart problems.
“For many years, the widespread belief that drinking in moderation offered protection against heart disease has been widely held. Research over the past decade is more nuanced with the most recent and highest quality systematic reviews showing that drinking a little alcohol neither decreases nor increases the risk of heart disease,” the report states.
“At higher levels of consumption, alcohol is a risk factor for most types of cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease and heart attacks, heart failure, high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, and strokes. strokes,” he continued.
According to the CCSA, these health risks remain the same regardless of the type of alcohol consumed or the degree of alcohol tolerance of the individual.
The CCSA also warns that the lifetime health risks of consuming more than two alcoholic beverages per week “increase more steeply in women than in men”. Due to differences in enzymes, genes, body weight, organ function and metabolism, the CCSA says alcohol has a greater impact on women and carries a higher risk of liver damage and disease. such as breast cancer.
On the other hand, men are more likely than women to drink excessively. As a result, men are also more likely to be involved in impaired driving crashes or to be hospitalized for alcohol-related medical emergencies, according to the CCSA.
“Overall, a disproportionate number of injuries, violence, and deaths result from alcohol use among men,” the authors write.
The CCSA also notes that alcohol use, particularly among men, has also been frequently associated with violent behavior, including domestic or sexual violence.
“No exact dose-response relationship can be established, but alcohol consumption increases the risk of perpetrating alcohol-related violence. Thus, it is reasonable to infer that individuals can reduce their risk of perpetrating alcohol-related violence. aggressive or violent acts by limiting their alcohol consumption,” the report states.
CCSA also launched a six-week online public consultation on the new alcohol consumption guidelines. Until September 23, members of the public are invited to share their thoughts in an online poll.
“We want Canadians to have the latest evidence-based advice on alcohol to help them make informed decisions about alcohol consumption,” CCSA CEO Alexander Caudarella said in a press release. “We are excited to be taking these final steps. The feedback we receive will help us ensure the clarity and validity of the final version of the updated Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines that we will release this fall.”