The sporadic beer after football on television or the digestif that puts an end to Sunday meals are not without risks. This is one of the main conclusions of the report Presented by the Canadian Center on Substance Use and Dependencies, a document prepared at the request of Health Canada. “The science is evolving and recommendations on alcohol consumption need to change. Research tells us that there is no one type or amount of alcohol that is good for your health,” the document states.
The Canadian Center on Substance Dependencies and Consumption (CCSA) therefore warns that zero consumption is the only way to avoid alcohol-related health risks. The Department’s latest recommendations, dating from 2011 and taking into account that year’s advice from the CCSA, limit intake to a maximum of 15 standard drinks per week for men and 10 for women. However, the report made public this Tuesday classifies one or two per week as low risk, while the moderate and highest risk are set at three to six weekly and seven or more, respectively.
The CCSA defines a standard drink as a 341 milliliter beer, a 142 milliliter glass of wine or a 42 milliliter glass of liquor with 40% alcohol. The report particularly highlights the risks associated with breast and colon cancer, as well as cardiovascular issues; it also lists the number of deaths and injuries from accidents. Experts warn that “much of Canada’s population is already at risk level” with 17% consuming between three and six drinks a week, while 40% exceed that number. For example, Australian authorities recommend a maximum of 10 per week. In the United States, the suggestion is to use no more than two per day for men and one for women.
In this way, the report proposes guidelines to Canadian authorities for each level of risk, rather than suggested maximum amounts. It also takes into account other elements to reduce alcohol consumption. One is mandatory labeling that more clearly indicates health risks, in addition to the number of standard drinks per container.
The Canadian Cancer Society, which applauds the report, has long called on the government to force cancer-causing companies to include such information on labels. A survey conducted in February last year showed that 80% of those consulted are in favor of the measure. The organism Educ’ alcohol also supports the proposal. The general manager, Geneviève Desautels, stated that it is essential to “inform, sensitize and provide tools to the population”.
“Alcohol and health benchmarks call for a cultural shift,” the report quotes, “to raise awareness and better manage risk.” Canada’s Department of Health appreciated the work of the CCSA experts and said it was studying the document in detail and noted that alcohol consumption is a significant problem for the country’s communities.
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