Forget the three drinks a week recommendation, or the glass of red wine at night before bed. Canadian health officials are making the dreaded announcement that no amount of alcohol is safe when trying to avoid cancer. In fact, the study suggests that if you don't drink right now, don't start.

The Canadian study says, people who drink even small amounts of alcohol “is damaging to everyone, regardless of age, sex, gender, ethnicity, tolerance for alcohol or lifestyle,” according to the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSUA).

Previously, Canadians suggested that women consume no more than 10 alcoholic drinks per week and men consume no more than 15.

What is an alcoholic drink?

According to the CCSUA report, a drink consists of a 1.5 ounce shot glass of a spirit that is 40-percent alcohol, a five-ounce glass of wine that is 12-percent alcohol, and a 12-ounce bottle of beer containing an alcohol level of five-percent.

“It doesn’t matter what kind of alcohol it is — wine, beer, cider or spirits. Drinking alcohol, even a small amount, is damaging to everyone, regardless of age, sex, gender, ethnicity, tolerance for alcohol or lifestyle," the report says. "That’s why if you drink, it’s better to drink less.”

Instead of recommending the number of drinks per week that someone can consume, the CCSUA assesses consumption based on the risk. The risk is "low" for people who consume two or fewer drinks per week, moderate for those who drink up to six drinks per week, and increasingly high for those who consume seven or more drinks per week.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control takes a different approach. They say, "to reduce the risk of alcohol-related harms, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink, or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men or 1 drink or less in a day for women, on days when alcohol is consumed."

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