The decision whether to drink and, if so, how much to drink is a personal one.
You should consult with your doctor or primary health care provider who can help you understand your personal risk profile and advise you as to whether drinking in moderation can be consistent with your personal health plan.
For people with particular health issues or a family history of certain diseases, the best course of action is to refrain from drinking altogether. In addition, it is clear that:
- Pregnant women should abstain from drinking
- Underage people should not drink.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol should be avoided.
- And no one should drive or operate heavy machinery after drinking.
Many governments throughout the world have provided information on the risks associated with drinking and published guidelines1 related to alcohol consumption. Links to some of these are listed below.
For example, in the US, the dietary guidelines suggest that: “If alcohol is consumed, it should be in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age.” The US dietary guidelines also advise that “high-risk drinking is the consumption of 4 or more drinks on any day or 8 or more drinks per week for women and 5 or more drinks on any day or 15 or more drinks per week for men.”
In 2016, the United Kingdom’s Chief Medical Officer revised that country’s Low Risk Drinking Guidelines,2 making the recommendations the same for men and women, concluding:
“To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level it is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.
“If you regularly drink as much as 14 units per week, it is best to spread your drinking evenly over 3 or more days. If you have one or two heavy drinking episodes a week, you increase your risks of death from long-term illness and from accidents and injuries."
“The risk of developing a range of health problems increases the more you drink on a regular basis."
“If you wish to cut down the amount you drink, a good way to help achieve this is to have several drink-free days each week.”
The World Health Organization (WHO), in its 2014 Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health,3 associates the “harmful use” of alcohol with an increased risk of adverse health outcomes. The WHO Report divides these outcomes into the following major categories: neuropsychiatric conditions, gastrointestinal diseases, cancers, intentional injuries, unintentional injuries, cardiovascular diseases, fetal alcohol syndrome, diabetes, and infectious diseases.
Physicians are best situated to provide guidance on your alcohol consumption. They can advise you throughout your life on how your current drinking patterns may impact your health, taking into account the latest medical research, your overall health status, your personal and family medical histories, and your environment, among other factors.
Below are links to additional sources of information on drinking and health provided by the governments of many countries, public health agencies and organizations, and industry. This abbreviated list does not represent all available resources on the subjects addressed. Rather, these links are provided solely for ease of reference. AB InBev is not responsible for the content of external links and is not stating a view or endorsement of any particular link by its inclusion or exclusion here.
The World Health Organization has issued a variety of reports on the subject of alcohol and health. They may be accessed here: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/alcohol.
The International Alliance for Responsible Drinking has published reports on medical studies regarding drinking and cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders, obesity, cancer, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and liver disease, which can be accessed here: https://www.iard.org/science-resources/category/health.
Department of Health: https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/alcohol/about-alcohol
National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC): https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/health-advice/alcohol
NHMRC Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol (2009): https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/publications/australian-guidelines-reduce-health-risks-drinking-alcohol
2008 Dietary Guidelines (including alcohol consumption):
Centre on Substance Use and Addiction’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines: https://www.ccsa.ca/canadas-low-risk-alcohol-drinking-guidelines-brochure
Dietary Guidelines: http://dg.cnsoc.org/
Federal Center for Health Education: https://www.kenn-dein-limit.de/#_
National Drug Dependence Treatment Center (NNDTC): https://www.alcoholwebindia.in/content/alcohol-you
NDDTC Useful Tips for Lower-Risk Drinking: https://www.alcoholwebindia.in/content/useful-tips-lower-risk-drinking-1
General information about alcohol: http://www.conadic.salud.gob.mx/pdfs/informe_alcohol.pdf
Healthy Lifestyle Booklet: http://www.health.gov.za/index.php/component/phocadownload/category/166
National Health System (NHS): https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/alcohol-support/the-risks-of-drinking-too-much/#
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture: https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/appendix-9/
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health
A summary of various other nations’ guidelines can be found at: https://www.iard.org/science-resources/detail/Drinking-Guidelines-General-Population
4. See The most recent Brazilian Dietary Guidelines, which do not address alcohol consumption, may be found here: http://bvsms.saude.gov.br/bvs/publicacoes/guia_alimentar_populacao_brasileira_2ed.pdf ↩