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Low Risk Drinking During Warmer Weather

June 5, 2013 by HealthyFamilies BC

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As we start to dig out from the boredom of winter and into the sunshine, and longer days of spring and summer, there's certainly one activity that I tend to do more often: drink. It just sneaks its way into so many activities, like taking a drink along while weeding the garden or enjoying a cold one on a patio with friends; it seems to pair so well with the heat. But how to know when the amount you're drinking is enough to impact your health?To answer this question, a panel of world-renowned experts recently published the Canadian Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines.

You'll notice they're not called "no-risk" guidelines...any amount of alcohol can increase the risk of certain cancers, injuries, and cardiovascular diseases, among other things. These guidelines balance all the health risks along with the limited health benefits (only for the middle-aged and older) that alcohol can have, in order to offer some recommendations to keep the risks to health low:

  • Drink no more than 10 drinks a week for women, with no more than two drinks a day on most days.
  • Drink no more than 15 drinks a week for men, with no more than three drinks a day on most days. 
  • And of course, there are times when zero alcohol is recommended, like when operating heavy machinery, or when pregnant or planning to get pregnant.

So while enjoying the sun over the next few months, keep these limits in mind so you can enjoy many more healthy summers! 

What types of activities do you enjoy pairing with alcohol, and what kind of limit do you tend to set?

Manik Saini is a policy analyst at the BC Ministry of Health. The policies he works on help reduce the negative impacts of alcohol on health and public safety, while recognizing that alcohol still provides social benefits and forms an important part of our culture. Thanks for contributing as a guest blogger, Manik!

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