Lower Risk Drinking

Canada’s Low Risk Drinking Guidelines 

Sure, you can have a couple, and if you follow Canada’s Low Risk Drinking Guidelines you can create a lifestyle that includes alcohol, non-drinking days and overall balance. If you want to feel rested in the morning and have more energy during the day, following the Low Risk Drinking Guidelines can help get you there.

The Low Risk Drinking Guidelines, based on scientific evidence, were developed by experts to help adults reduce the health and safety risks associated with drinking alcohol. The guidelines are different for men and women because men and women don’t process alcohol the same way.


For Women: 2 Drinks Per Day, 3 Drinks on a Social Occasion, 10 Drinks Per Week Maximum

For men: 3 Drinks Per Day, 4 Drinks on a Social Occasion, 15 Drinks Per Week Maximum

Here’s a quick look:

While following these guidelines might lower the risks of drinking alcohol, it doesn’t make it risk-free. One other thing – the recommended daily and weekly limits are not targets to drink up to. As a matter of fact, the guidelines recommend having non-drinking days each week to avoid forming a habit.

Get the full guidelines   See the effects of alcohol on the body
 

 

So what's a drink?

People’s idea of a drink can vary widely. A bartender using a shot glass will pour a very different sized drink than your friend who has just whipped up a batch of margaritas. 

To stay within the Low Risk Drinking Guidelines, your drinks need to be standard ones. A standard drink looks like this:


Beer: 12oz or 341ml based on 5% alcohol content

Wine: 5oz or 142ml based on 12% alcohol content

Spirits: 1.5oz or 43ml based on 40% alcohol content

If you're the one pouring, take the Home Bartending Challenge and see how your skills measure up when it comes to serving a standard drink.
 

 

All Drinks are not Created Equal | Alcohol Content

Even the same type of drink in the same amount might be more than a standard drink because of alcohol content. Take beer, for example. The alcohol content can vary from 1.1 to 11 percent and up. That means the same amount of beer may or may not be equal to one standard drink (17 ml of pure alcohol).

 

 

 X-TRA LIGHT: 12oz/341ml | 1.1% - 2.5% alcohol | 2.5% ~ .3oz/9ml pure alcohol

 LIGHT: 12oz/341ml | 2.6% - 4% alcohol | 4% ~ .5oz/14ml pure alcohol

 REGULAR BEER: 12oz/341ml | 4.1% - 5.5% alcohol | 5.5% ~ .7oz/19ml pure alcohol

 STRONG:  12oz/341ml | 5.6% - 8.5% alcohol | 8.5% ~ 1oz/29ml pure alcohol

 X-TRA STRONG: 12oz/341ml | 8.6 % alcohol+ | 11% ~ 1.3oz/38ml pure alcohol


 

The Real Deal on Alcohol | Myths and Facts

There’s a ton of information out there about drinking. Some of it’s accurate, some of it not so much. Here you’ll find some common myths about alcohol…and the facts.

Fact: You’d think so with all that mix but a standard drink has the same amount of alcohol, whether it's wine, beer or spirits.

Fact: Only time can sober you up because that's what your body needs to get rid of the alcohol. If you try a shower or coffee, you’ll just end up wet, wired and wasted.

Fact: This is definitely a myth. Women have less fluid in their bodies so when they drink, the concentration of alcohol in their blood is higher. They’ll feel the effects of alcohol faster and for longer. Women are also more likely to experience long-term health problems related to alcohol sooner than men.

Fact: Those fries at 3 a.m. might seem like a good idea if this was true but it’s not. While food does slow down how quickly your body absorbs alcohol, you'll still become drunk, just not as fast.

Fact: Like the fizzy stuff? Here’s something to consider. Coolers, sparkling wine and cocktails with soda enter the bloodstream at a faster rate than flat drinks. That means if your drinks are bubbly, you'll feel the effects of alcohol sooner.

Fact: The simple fact is you can get drunk if you drink. The type of alcohol doesn't matter - any kind, in any combination, affects you depending on its alcohol content.
Fact: Age may bring wisdom but not an increased tolerance for alcohol. As people get older, their bodies process alcohol more slowly so they may become more sensitive to its effects. Teens and young adults, on the other hand, may have their physical and mental development affected.


 

Keeping it Social │ Drinking Within the Guidelines

Looking for some ways to stay within Canada’s Low Risk Drinking Guidelines? Here are some tips that can help.

 Eat while you drink.
Snack often, before and while you drink, to slow down how fast your body’s absorbing the alcohol being consumed. Your stomach will thank you in the morning. (Your head might too.)

 A standard drink size matters. 
Who says size doesn’t matter? Stick to a standard pour and take a pass on top ups so you know how much you’re really drinking.

 Water is your friend. 
Drink more...water, that is. Alcohol dehydrates you. Try a glass of water in between each drink.

 Sip slowly and savour. 
Chugging’s for amateurs. Sip slowly and savour. Enjoy your wine’s aroma and the taste of that single malt. And if you have a couple of non-drinking days each week, like the guidelines recommend, you might just have the extra funds to splurge on some top shelf products.

 Choose mixes without caffeine.
Think about taking a pass on alcohol mixed with energy drinks, especially the hand-mixed ones because they usually contain more caffeine than the pre-mixed kind. Why? Because caffeine in energy drinks can mask the effects of alcohol - you might end up feeling like you’re not drunk, but you are.


 


Try a Mocktail

Consider skipping the chaser and trying a spacer - a non-alcoholic or low alcohol drink that you have in between alcoholic ones. How about making one of these delicious mocktails? 

Cranberry Raspberry Smoothie
Butterscotch Apple Cream
The Ginger Grape

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