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 updated U.S. Dietary Guidelines. (July 16)
DARIUSH MOZAFFARIAN: The 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report came out this week, and one of the notable changes from five years ago is that men are now recommended to consume alcohol no more than one serving per day. That's a drop from the previous recommendation of up to two servings per day.
Now alcohol is thought to possibly have some heart health benefits, but on average across the population, alcohol also causes many harms. Cancers, liver disease, accidents, homicides, violence, and so research over the last five years supports the idea that even two drinks per day, on average, is more harmful than one.
In thinking about the new recommendations that men should consume alcohol no more than one drink per day, one of the questions people ask is, well, what's a drink, right? And so you know, it's important to know what an average drink is. An average drink is about half a glass of wine, or one shot of liquor, or a can of beer. And so, you know, one of these 20, 30 ounces of beer is not one drink.
Another question people commonly ask is, well, if it's drink per day, that means I can wait and then have seven drinks on Friday. That's also not true. The pattern is also very important. And so it's really up to one drink per day.
One of the common misunderstandings of the dietary guidelines is that when they recommend that men and women drink no more than one serving of alcohol per day, they're not recommending that people drink alcohol per day. And so if people don't drink, that's fine. It's really if you do drink, to drink in moderation.