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SUMMARY REPORT: We’ve gleened the main takeaways. While this study is intended for Canadians, it should be a reference for everyone.

The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) just released a guidance report January, 2023 for health organizations, health professionals – physicians, nurses, counsellors, and the general public on its latest findings on Low-Risk Alcohol consumption.

Three-quarters (3/4) Canadian adults use alcohol 🍷🍸, (a psychoactive substance) for social events and special occasions.

The report noted, “Alcohol is a leading preventable cause of death, disability and social problems, including certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, unintentional injuries and violence.”

CCSA Guidance Report

The report emphasizes use of less alcohol because of overwhelming evidence that confirms that when it comes to drinking alcohol, less consumption means less risk of harm from it.

CCSA Report /Courtesy/

“The physiological differences between females and males at low levels of alcohol use have only a small impact on lifetime risk of death.”

“However, it is unequivocal that above the upper limit of the moderate risk zone for alcohol consumption (above 6 standard drinks per week), the health risks increase more steeply for females than for males.”

“Enzymes, genes, lean body weight and size, organ function and metabolism are important in processing alcohol and are affected by sex-related factors. These biological factors enhance the impact of alcohol on females, causing higher blood alcohol levels, faster intoxication, more risk for disease, including breast cancer, and more long-term harm, such as liver damage and injury.

Guage of a standard glass of alcohol. Image: CCSA Report /Courtesy/
Risk for Men

Men drink more alcohol than women and are more likely to drink in excess. Consequently, they are more likely to be involved in alcohol-impaired driving collisions, to be treated in hospitals and hospitalized for alcohol-related medical emergencies and health problems, to be diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder and to die from alcohol-related causes.”

“Men are also more likely than women to take other risks (e.g., use other substances, drive under the influence) that when combined with alcohol further increase their likelihood of experiencing and causing alcohol-related harms.”

“Overall, far more injuries, violence and deaths result from men’s alcohol use, especially in the case of per-occasion drinking.”

Continuum of risk associated with average weekly alcohol consumption (image below):

CCSA Report /Courtesy/
Reasons for the New Guidance on Alcohol and Health

Alcohol and Cancer Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada, and I add the world too.

However, the fact that alcohol is a carcinogen that can cause at least seven types of cancer is often unknown or overlooked. The most recent available data show that the use of alcohol causes nearly 7,000 cases of cancer deaths each year in Canada, with most cases being breast or colon cancer, followed by cancers of the rectum, mouth and throat, liver, esophagus and larynx.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, drinking less alcohol is among the top 10 behaviours to reduce cancer risk.

Alcohol and Heart Disease

After cancer, heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada.

Research in the last decade is more nuanced with the most recent and highest quality systematic reviews showing that drinking a little alcohol neither decreases nor increases the risk of ischemic heart disease, but it is a risk factor for most other types of cardiovascular disease, including, hypertension, heart failure, high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation and hemorrhagic stroke.

Follow the link below for the full report:

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