Experts Halve Recommended Alcohol Limit for Men

It's now 1 drink a day, same as for women
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 16, 2020 4:12 AM CDT
Experts: Men Should Limit Alcohol to 1 Drink a Day
Men pose for a photo outside a reopened pub in London earlier this month.   (Victoria Jones/PA via AP)

If you decide to have an alcoholic drink, limiting yourself to one a day is best—whether you’re a man or woman. That’s the new advice experts are recommending for the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are scheduled to be updated later this year for the first time in five years, the AP reports. The guidelines, which experts say are "aspirational," currently say men should limit themselves to two drinks a day, and that women should limit themselves to one. That advice has been in place since 1990. In a report released Wednesday, a committee of experts noted there isn’t adequate evidence to support different alcohol recommendations for men and women, and that research supports tightening the limit for men. US health agencies that issue dietary guidelines aren’t required to adopt the committee's recommendations.

"As a nation, our collective health would be better if people generally drank less," said Dr. Timothy Naimi, an alcohol researcher at Boston University and one of the experts on the committee. The proposed advice shouldn’t be interpreted to mean that not having a drink on Thursday means you can have two on Friday, Naimi said. One drink is the equivalent of about one 12-ounce can of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a shot of liquor. The advice is based on links researchers observed between drinking habits and all causes of death, including heart disease, cancer, and car accidents, rather than a specific physical harm that alcohol might have. Naimi said two drinks a day was associated with an increased risk of death compared with one drink a day. He said the increase was modest, but notable enough for the committee to recommend updating the advice.

(More alcohol stories.)

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