Study Says You’re Supposed to Drink Even Less Booze

A major health council suggests its "two drinks per day" guideline is outdated

Drinking
A new study suggests you may want to stop after this drink
Yutacar / Unsplash
By Kirk Miller / December 16, 2019 11:30 am

It’s the holidays, so you probably don’t want to hear how much you’re not supposed to drink.

The really bad news: it’s now even less than what you thought. The National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia just updated its guidelines for the first time in a decade, now suggesting that the average adult should consume no more than 1.4 alcoholic drinks per day.

If you’re wondering, that works out to about 10 “standard” drinks per week (in the U.S., a standard drink means a can of beer, glass of wine or about 1.5 oz of 80-proof liquor). And nobody should have more than four drinks per day, according to the report.

There’s good reason for this: Sticking with 10 or less drinks per week means you’ll have below a one  in 100 chance of drying from an alcohol-related disease or injury. The NHMRC also found “greater certainty about links between alcohol and a number of different cancers,” according to the Guardian.

Before you scream “nanny state,” take into account that the council’s report is meant to serve only as a guideline. “We’re providing advice about the health risks from drinking alcohol so that we can all make informed decisions in our daily lives – for ourselves and for our children,” says Anne Kelso, the NHMRC chief executive.

Even though the report is from Australia, it’s not that different from our home-grown agencies. The Center for Disease Control in the U.S. currently defines moderate drinking as one drink per day for women and “up to two” drinks for men, and notes that “excessive” alcohol use led to 88,000 deaths per year and shortening the lives of those who died by an average of 30 years in its most recent findings (which admittedly date back to 2006-2010).

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