Revive Reviews: NEW Alcohol Guidelines

When it comes to nutrition guidelines, new recommendations may arise as evidence does – research is constantly being carried out.
We pride ourselves on being evidence-based, so we constantly review this research!

Depending on what the evidence shows, our recommendations may change such as with the new alcohol recommendations released by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA).

According to the CCSA, research shows that any amount of alcohol consumed can have negative health consequences. These negative consequences may include injuries, cancers, liver and heart disease, and alcohol use disorder (Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction [CCSA], 2023).

The purpose of providing this updated information is to help you make informed choices and decide the best course of action for yourself (CCSA, 2023).


What is a standard drink? (Government of Canada, 2021)

1 Standard Drink Contains ½ oz. of Alcohol
Type of Drink Average Size
Wine 5 oz. (90-140 mL)
Cooler, cider, ready-to-drink 12 oz. (340 mL)
Beer 12 oz. (340 mL)
Hard Liquor 1 ½ oz. (45 mL)


Old Guidelines (Government of Canada, 2021)


  • Limit alcohol to no more than:
    • 2 standard drinks per day
    • 10 standard drinks per week
    • 3 standard drinks on special occasions
  • Avoid drinking alcohol on some days


  • Limit alcohol to no more than:
    • 3 standard drinks per day
    • 15 standard drinks per week
    • 4 standard drinks on special occasions
  • Avoid drinking alcohol on some days


New Guidelines

Low Risk: 1-2 drinks/week: likely to avoid alcohol-related consequences.
Moderate Risk: 3-6 drinks/week: increased risk of colon and breast cancers.
High Risk: 7 or more drinks/week: increased risk of heart disease and risk of stroke.


What are the most significant differences between the old and new guidelines?

  • The amount of alcohol is specified by week rather than per day
  • There are no longer gender-specific targets
    • The new guidelines examined the differences between males and females and the impact on alcohol use. The findings showed that females are at higher risk for alcohol-induced harm, both biologically and socially, than males. This means that for women engaging in the higher moderate risk consumption, the health risks increase more steeply versus males.
  • Consuming more than two standard drinks per occasion is associated with an increased risk of harm to self and others, including injuries and violence.
  • For women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, there is no known safe amount of alcohol use.
  • For women who are breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is safest.


Ready to reduce your alcohol?

Change can be challenging, but we don’t have to make rapid changes all at once. Any reduction in your alcohol consumption is beneficial (CCSA, 2023). It is important to reflect on your current use and where you might find that you are exceeding the limit.


5 tips to help you reduce your intake in social situations:

  1. Alternate between a non-alcoholic and an alcoholic drink.
  2. Spend more time sipping on one drink.
  3. If you like drinking doubles, try switching to singles.
  4. If you like having a 9 oz glass of wine, try switching to a 6 oz glass.
  5. If you have alcohol, make sure you are not missing out on any meals or snacks.


Let’s focus on the positive reasons to reduce drinking alcohol (Drinkaware, 2022)!

  • Alcohol acts like a depressant and stops our production of happy chemicals. Therefore, you are more likely to feel down and anxious the day after drinking. Reflect on your mood after drinking the night before. Do you notice a difference in how you feel after a night of drinking versus not drinking alcohol?
  • Alcohol is associated with poor sleep quality. Reducing alcohol intake can help you feel more rested and energized for the day!
  • When drinking, our bodies cannot absorb important vitamins from food. Reducing alcohol intake can improve your overall nutrition and reduce your risk of developing nutrient deficiencies.
  • Do you ever indulge in sugary or salty foods when you’re drinking? Research shows that we tend to overeat at meals when drinking (Drayer, 2018). This may be something to keep in mind depending on your health goals.


Alcohol and Stress

Alcohol is sometimes a coping mechanism to “wind down” or “de-stress” after a long day. It’s important to pay attention to how you feel before reaching for a drink. Practicing a positive form of stress management may be a better option than reaching for a drink.

What are some other ways to de-stress?

  • Exercise: Walking, running, or bike riding can release endorphins and give you a natural “high”.
  • Take up a new hobby.
  • Socialize: spend time with friends and family. Plan a game night, movie night or go out for dinner.
  • Relax: have a bath, practice yoga or meditate.
  • Read a book: A great way to relax and unwind.
  • Get creative: write in a journal, create some art, or express yourself.
  • Listen to music: find new artists or genres.
  • Engage in self-care: find a warm place to sit outside in the sun, watch a show, or stay hydrated.


For more on this topic, read our blog: “How to Keep Your Alcohol Consumption in Check During Times of Stress.”




Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA). (2023, January). Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health: Final Report.

Drayer, L. (2018, August). Why does alcohol give you the munchies? CNN Health.

Drinkaware. 2022. Benefits of cutting down or cutting out alcohol. Retrieved March 16, 2023 from:

Government of Canada. (2021, May). Low-risk alcohol drinking guidelines.