Who doesn't like an ice-cold brew after a hot day of work, to enjoy with a burger, or while watching this week's big game? Well, according to some recent reports, The Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), George Koob, is reportedly considering revising alcohol consumption guidelines in the United States. Those guidelines could bring the US closer to Canada's measurements.

Photo Credit: Creative Services, ViewApart.
Photo Credit: Creative Services, ViewApart.
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Currently, the United States 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that "adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to two drinks or less in a day for men and one drink or less in a day for women when alcohol is consumed." It goes on to say that drinking less is better for health than drinking more. In addition, some adults should not drink alcohol;

  • Taking medications that interact with alcohol
  • Managing a medical condition that can be made worse by drinking
  • Under the age of 21, the minimum legal drinking age in the United States
  • Recovering from alcohol use disorder (AUD) or unable to control the amount you drink
  • Pregnant or might be pregnant

The page states that people who do not drink should not start drinking for any reason.

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The proposed change could advise Americans to limit their alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per week, a large departure from the current recommendations. That's a change from a maximum 14 drinks a week for males, and 7 a week for women. Koob suggests that if any changes were to occur, they might lean towards Canada's approach.

These reports come at a time when families are getting together for what is the United States' third most "drink-celebrated" holiday - Labor Day. In fact, Americans celebrate Labor Day, by drinking an average of 3.2 alcoholic beverages, according to Alcohol.org. In the year 2016, the National Beer Wholesalers Association ranked Labor Day as #3 in its list of beer sales holidays. In fact, in 2020, the week leading into Labor Day showed alcohol sales up 6.5% compared to the same week in 2019, according to Nielsen. Spirits sales were up 33.4% and wine was up 17.9% in the same week. This is also the weekend when police across the Midwest will be cracking down on impaired driving.

Credit: University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute
Credit: University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute
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Before you get out your pitchforks, it's important to remember that any modifications to the United States' alcohol consumption guidelines would be suggestions rather than legally binding limits. And, in all honesty, some moderation might be in order for the midwestern states of Iowa and Wisconsin.

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In addition, a recent report from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute Wisconsin and Iowa really enjoy alcohol, more than almost every state in the U.S. Wisconsin was home to the most excessive drinkers. 26% of Wisconsin adults considered themselves excessive drinkers. Following right behind Wisconsin were Iowa (25%), Montana (24%), Nebraska (23%), and North Dakota (23%). I know you are completely shocked by these stats, right?

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Credit: University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute
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The U.S. alcohol consumption guidelines are set for review in 2025. It remains to be seen how such potential changes would be received by the public and integrated into broader health campaigns. Speaking of which...

How can I find and receive help with alcoholism?

Credit: Traitov
Credit: Traitov
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Find emergency hotlines, counseling, and treatment options for help with substance abuse at this national website. For any and all seeking help with substance abuse treatment and mental health referrals, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

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