Low-risk alcohol guidance sparks debate as drinkers start examining habits, evidence

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Canada's new guidance on alcohol is sparking plenty of debate, and while some experts say it could lead to frank conversations with health providers to help drinkers make informed choices, others are questioning the advice to imbibe fewer than two drinks per week.
     
Heidi Tworek, an expert in health communication at the University of British Columbia, says if the goal is to change behaviour, then the guidance on reducing the risk of alcohol-related cancer or heart disease must be accompanied by other strategies.
     
The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction says in a report that no amount of alcohol is safe but those who consume up to two standard drinks per week face a low risk, which increases to moderate risk for three to six weekly drinks and high beyond that.
     
The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction says in a report that no amount of alcohol is safe but those who consume up to two standard drinks per week face a low risk, which increases to moderate rifor three to six weekly drinks and high beyond that.
     
Tworek says the guidance should also be translated into different languages to serve various communities and federal and provincial governments must do their part to educate people through public health policies.
     
But Dan Malleck, a medical historian on alcohol policy at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, calls the guidance ``fearmongering'' and says people shouldn't be stigmatized for having more than two drinks, especially if they don't have a family history of cancer or related risks.