Men Who Drink Alcohol Should Limit Intake to One Drink a Day, Panel Urges
Dietary guidelines should change to tell Americans who drink not to indulge in more than one drink per day, committee recommends.
It may be time to change the way you think about how much you can drink.iStock
If you drink alcohol, limiting yourself to one drink per day will help reduce your overall health risks. This limit applies to everyone, whether you are a man or woman.
Dietary Guidelines, slated to be updated this year, to change the recommended daily alcohol limit for men from up to two drinks to no more than one drink a day.
“This is the first time that the dietary guidelines committee focused on all-cause mortality or total mortality,” says Timothy Naimi, MD, MPH, a physician and alcohol researcher at Boston Medical Center and a member of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. In the past, he explains, the committee looked at alcohol along with specific types of death. “This time,” he says, “we looked at all alcohol-related deaths combined. We drew on evidence from more than the past five years.”
For Men, a Change From a Two-Drink Max to a One-Drink Max
“The evidence is pretty clear that for men, consuming two drinks a day has a higher risk of death than consuming one drink a day, says Dr. Naimi, who is also a professor with the Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health." On top of this, he adds, "We have a lot of concern that there may not be a cardiovascular benefit from alcohol, so that’s another argument for being particularly cautious.”
Past Advice Differed by Gender: No More Than One a Day for Women, Two a Day for Men
Having different limit recommendations in the past made sense, says Stephanie Faubion, MD, medical director for the North American Menopause Society (NAMS). “This is based on the fact that women generally have a smaller volume of distribution for alcohol than men because of their higher percentage of body fat and will have higher peak blood alcohol levels than men when given the same dose of alcohol.” Dr. Faubion, who is also director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Women’s Health, wrote in an email message. “Women may also have higher blood alcohol levels than men because of differences in first-pass metabolism of alcohol by the stomach (which is greater in men).
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