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Even small amounts of alcohol can be damaging to our health. 

As leaders in health and wellness, fitness professionals can help Canadians to make well-informed decisions about their alcohol consumption by raising awareness about the new guidelines (and where to go to find out more). 

 5 Key Takeaways: 

  1. New low risk limit is two standard drinks per week for men and women. 
  1. If you drink, it’s better to drink less.  
  1. No amount or type (wine, beer, spirits) is good for your health. Yes, that includes red wine, once thought to offer some heart-health protection. 
  1. Health risks are higher for women. Consuming more than two standard drinks per week raises the health risks more steeply for women than for men. 
  1. Alcohol use is a risk factor for an increasing number of diseases including at least seven types of cancers, inflammation, dementia, and heart disease, as well as associated risks from accidents and violence. 

Based on the latest evidence, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction recently released Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health, which now replaces Canada’s Low Risk Drinking Guidelines released in 2011. 

The update includes highlighting the benefits of no alcohol, such as better sleep and overall health. And for those who choose to drink alcohol, the benefits of a significant reduction in weekly consumption limit health risks.  

The 2011 low risk drinking guidelines were 10 standard drinks a week for women, and 15 for men. It’s now two standard drinks a week for women or men. That’s a level where alcohol related consequences are likely to be avoided. With every additional drink added per week, health risks rise.  

Consume three to six standard drinks a week, and risks for several different types of cancers increase, including breast and colon cancer.  

Seven or more standard drinks a week significantly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. 

What is a standard drink? 

  • Beer – 12 oz (341 ml) 5% alcohol 
  • Cooler – 12 oz (341 ml) 5% alcohol  
  • Wine – 5 oz (142 ml) 12% alcohol 
  • Spirits (whisky, vodka, gin) – 1.5 oz (43 ml) 40% alcohol  

Try this tasty mocktail: 


  • Low sugar tonic or soda water 
  • Splash of 100% cherry juice  
  • Big squeeze of juicy lime  
  • Lots of ice 

Find out more:  


Carol Harrison is a registered dietician who loves her daily workouts! She has a food nutrition communications company in Toronto. For more recipes, healthy hacks or article suggestions, connect with Carol on Instagram @carolharrison.rd