Health experts are bringing down the bar: Men should limit themselves not to two drinks per day - the long-standing recommendation - but just one.
So says a report out Wednesday, which is set to be included later this year as part of the first update to the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans in five years. Since 1990, the guidelines had maintained that men could healthily drink two alcoholic beverages daily, while women could only drink one.
Now, though, experts are saying there’s insufficient evidence that either gender is better physically streamlined for alcohol consumption; men and women alike are better off stopping after a single drink. (A single drink is defined as roughly 12 ounces of beer or 5 ounces of wine or liquor, and not drinking on a Thursday does not mean one can healthily have two drinks on Friday.)
“As a nation, our collective health would be better if people generally drank less,” Dr. Timothy Naimi, a member of the committee behind the report, told the Associated Press.
After observing drinking habits’ correlation with all causes of death, the committee determined that having more than one drink marginally increased the risk of dying.
The one-drink advice, however, is somewhat toothless. US health agencies aren’t required to adopt the committee’s recommendations, according to the AP, and the report is used more as general guidance and by lobbyists.
The report comes as many Americans are relying heavily on booze as a coping mechanism during the coronavirus pandemic - even though drinking may heighten drinkers’ risk for developing COVID-19, the World Health Organization stated in April.
A rash of studies have long maintained that even moderate amounts of alcohol can be detrimental to human health. In June, the American Cancer Society changed its guidelines to recommend sobriety over just moderation in the name of cancer reduction and prevention.