New data suggests how many alcoholic drinks per week are safe

New research from The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction suggests labels on booze containers are needed to warn consumers about the serious health risks linked to alcohol consumption.

The guidance is based on the findings of 23 experts who analyzed nearly 6,000 peer reviewed studies during a two-year process and considered public feedback.

The data reveals that alcohol causes nearly 7,000 cancer deaths every year in Canada, with the majority of cases being breast or colon cancer, followed by cancers of the rectum, mouth and throat, liver, esophagus and larynx. Liver disease and most types of cardiovascular diseases are also associated with alcohol use.

“Consuming more than two standard drinks per drinking occasion is associated with an increased risk of harms to self and others, including injuries and violence,” the report says.

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The report updates Canada’s Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines set in 2011, when two drinks per day were considered low risk. It was also believed that women could safely consume about 10 drinks a week and men could have 15 drinks.

Now, the focus is on a continuum of risk associated with weekly alcohol consumption.

The CCSA says the risk of harm is low for those who have two standard drinks or less per week, moderate for those who down between three and six standard drinks and increased for people who consume every additional drink beyond that.

“No matter where you are on that continuum of alcohol use, for your health, less is better,” the report says.

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