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Surprising New Canadian Alcohol Guidelines Tell You How Much To (Not) Drink Per Week

New drinking guidelines are coming to Canada.🍺

Beer in a Canadian grocery store.

Beer in a Canadian grocery store.

If you have seven or more alcoholic drinks per week, you're at greater risk for developing heart disease or having a stroke, according to a draft update to Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines published on August 29.

Health Canada uses the guidelines, first published in 2011, to inform the public about the risks associated with drinking. They also outline recommended daily and weekly consumption limits.

Alexander Caudarella, CEO of the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA), says the updates reflect "the latest evidence-based advice on alcohol."

The result is striking.

While the current guidelines recommend no more than 10 "standard drinks" a week for women and 15 for men, the new guidelines advise fewer than seven and make clear that even three to six drinks per week pose a "moderate risk" of "alcohol-caused consequences."

A summary of the new report points to links between alcohol and cancer, heart disease and, especially among men, aggression and violence.

"Taken together, overwhelming evidence confirms that when it comes to drinking alcohol: Less is better," the CCSA says in the document.

The organization also summarizes what it sees as the "policy implications" of the new report, including calls for "strengthening regulations of alcohol advertising and marketing, restrictions on the physical availability of alcohol and the adoption of minimum prices for alcohol."

Specifically, the CCSA will recommend that Health Canada require the "labelling of all alcoholic beverages to list the number of standard drinks in a container, the Guidance on Alcohol and Health, health warnings and nutrition information."

While, in the U.S., alcoholic beverages have to come with a general health warning, the Canadian federal government outlines no such requirements online.

The new Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines are open for online public consultation until September 23.

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