Government Looking At Reducing Recommendation For Alcohol Consumption

In a potential shift worthy of attention, the federal government is reportedly exploring the idea of updating its alcohol consumption guidelines and setting a limit of two drinks weekly.

Dr. George Koob, the head of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, recently shared insights with the Daily Mail, hinting at a possible revision of the existing recommendations.

The intriguing source of inspiration for this potential change comes from Canada, which has recently advised its citizens to limit themselves to a mere two alcoholic drinks per week. 

Koob emphasized the significance of this “big experiment” happening in Canada and indicated that the United States might reconsider its stance on alcohol consumption if proven health benefits emerge from this approach.

As he put it: “If there’s health benefits, I think people will start to re-evaluate where we’re at [in the US].”

“So, if [alcohol consumption guidelines] go in any direction, it would be toward Canada,” he stated.

According to The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which presently permit moderate drinking, adults of legal drinking age can opt for moderate drinking by consuming two drinks or fewer in a day for men. It also allows for one drink or fewer for women, on occasions when alcohol is consumed. Importantly, this pertains to single-day consumption rather than an average over several days.

But what constitutes a single drink? According to the guidelines, one drink corresponds to 14 grams of pure alcohol. This is roughly equivalent to a 12 oz. beer with 5% alcohol content, a 5 oz. serving of 12% wine, or a 1 oz. serving of 40% distilled spirit (80 proof). As these guidelines are currently undergoing review, any potential changes won’t be solidified until the end of year 2025.

While Koob confessed to enjoying two glasses of white wine each week, he did point out that the scientific consensus leans towards the absence of definitive health benefits from alcohol consumption.

“Most of the benefits people attribute to alcohol, we feel they really have more to do with what someone’s eating rather than what they’re drinking. So it really has to do with the Mediterranean diet, socio-economic status, that makes you able to afford that kind of diet and make your own fresh food and so forth,” he said.

“With this in mind, most of the benefits kind of disappear on the health side,” he emphasized, going on to describe alcohol as a “social lubricant.”

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