An influential federal panel is recommending that men reduce their alcohol intake to one drink per day rather than two, and that all Americans should cut back on added sugars.
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, established in the early 1980s and tasked with providing expert scientific advice, convene once every five years.
Currently, in the U.S., the recommended limit for alcohol use is no more than two drinks per day for men, where “a drink” contains around 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol.
However, Politico is reporting that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s new draft report advises that amount should be decreased.
“For those who drink alcohol, recommended limits for better health are up to 1 drink per day for both women and men,” the committee said.
Consuming the current limit of two drinks per day is associated with a “modest but meaningful increase” in death rates due to all causes, compared with just one drink per day, the panel said.
Also, current guidelines suggest consumers not get more than 10% of their calories from added sugars; yet, the committee asserts a limit of 6% is “more consistent with a dietary pattern that is nutritionally adequate while avoiding excess energy intake.”
The committee’s recommendations related to reduced alcohol consumption align with recent studies on the subject. According to the current guidelines published by the Canadian government, low-risk drinking constitutes no more than ten drinks per week for women and 15 for men. Yet, a Canadian study recently published in the Journal of Alcohol and Drugs found that people whose drinking accords with those guidelines are still at risk of developing severe alcohol-related health problems. In particular, the study found that 50% of cancer deaths resulting from alcohol use in British Columbia occurred among moderate drinkers. A study by South Korean scientists published last year found that one glass of wine a day is worse for the heart than binge drinking.
“We found that those drinking within moderate guidelines, even though they are following the low-risk drinking guidelines still in one year, experienced about 140 more deaths and nearly 4000 hospital stays than they would have if they had instead abstained,” said Adam Sherk, a postdoctoral fellow at the Canadian Institute for Substance Abuse Research at the University of Victoria.