We know the ritornello: two glasses a day and ten a week maximum for women, and three glasses a day and fifteen a week for men, all accompanied by one or two days without drinking. And if it was … much too much?
Better to eat about seven standard Canadian drinks a week or less to minimize health risks, a study published today in The Lancet concludes . That’s 100 grams of alcohol per week or less, a lower limit than the current recommendations of Éduc’alcool in Quebec, and many other authorities around the world.
In Canada, one drink is 13.6 grams of alcohol, which is a 12% glass of 140ml wine or 340ml of 5% beer.
Signed by a broad coalition of researchers led by British epidemiologist Angela Wood of Cambridge, the study found that a reduction in alcohol consumption at these levels would earn an average of two years of life in a quarantine. Among the biggest drinkers (more than 25 drinks a week), moderating their consumption would save four to five years of life.
The study reiterates that it seems less risky to space its consumption in the week, avoiding evenings very wet. Current recommendations in Quebec already say so.
This suggestion of seven glasses or less per week would be difficult to promote in Quebec, says Emilie Dansereau-Trahan, content officer at the Association for Public Health of Quebec (ASPQ). “People already have difficulty meeting current recommendations. We start from a distance, “she says. One in four men and one in seven women abuse alcohol, according to the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ). Abusive consumption is defined as the intake of four or five glasses, depending on whether you are a woman or a man, on one occasion, at least once a month.
Ms. Dansereau-Trahan indicates that alcohol is “taken lightly”, “trivialized”. Questioned when she had just appeared in the consultations on Bill 170, which amends various legislative provisions relating to alcoholic beverages, she noted that “there is information to be transmitted even at the level of elected officials. concerning the risks associated with health. Alcohol is associated with 200 social and health problems, it’s not nothing, and it costs our government a fortune. ”
Éduc’alcool’s Executive Director, Hubert Sacy, points out that this is not his organization, but the Advisory Committee on the National Alcohol Strategy sets the guidelines to be put forward with the public.
In 2016, Great Britain revised its guidelines to recommend a maximum of six glasses of wine or pints of beer a week for both men and women. A glass of wine or “British” beer is bigger than a standard Canadian glass, 175 ml for wine and 568 ml for beer.
The Canadian advisory committee, reports Hubert Sacy, who sat there, concluded that there was no reason to follow suit in the light of the scientific data available at that time. This committee is composed of researchers, representatives of the alcohol industry, and representatives of public health, among others.
Hubert Sacy believes that, where appropriate, the Canadian recommendations will be revised in light of the new studies available. “The idea is to make sure the recommendations are based on science,” he says.
He considers that the British guidelines are somewhat “radical”. Research published in The Lancet , whose main author is British, “seems to support the British recommendation, which has made a lot of waves,” says Sacy. “We do not drink alcohol for our health,” he adds. If you choose to drink, you need to know what the risks are. ”
What is the study based on?
To come up with a recommendation of six drinks a week, scientists used data from 83 studies of nearly 600,000 people who drink from 19 countries.
Those least at risk of dying prematurely were those staying at 100 grams or less of alcohol per week.
In addition, as consumption increased, the risk of dying from stroke, coronary artery disease, cardiac arrest, hypertension, or aortic aneurysm increased.
“The consumption levels recommended in this study will undoubtedly be considered plausible and impracticable by the alcohol industry and other opponents,” said researchers Jason Connor and Wayne Hall of the University of Waterloo. Queensland, Australia. They published a comment, also in The Lancet . “Nevertheless, these results must be communicated and they should fuel the debate,” they add.
Cardiologist and Director of Prevention at the Montreal Heart Institute, Martin Juneau, notes that the current approach to alcohol is “a little liberal, unfortunately.” “Data is starting to accumulate to promote much more moderate consumption,” he says. This study further lowers the threshold for low-risk drinking. ”
He must sometimes remind patients that, as part of a change in their lifestyle, lowering the elbow is necessary. “Sharing a bottle of wine for two on a Saturday is one thing, but doing it three or four nights a week is definitely too much”