Canada: new food guide warns against alcohol use
The newly published food guide includes alcohol and warns about the health risks associated with alcohol consumption.
The new food guide introduced by Canada after 12 years, has recognized alcohol as a “leading global health concern”. Food and nutrition experts of the country have welcomed this improved stance on alcohol as a co-ordinated strategy is necessary in dealing with this growing health issue.
The guide notes the relationship alcohol consumption has with seven types of cancer including liver, mouth, colorectal and breast, as well as other serious health conditions related to alcohol use including hypertension and liver disease. It focuses on the social issues of alcohol consumption and points out the 3100 deaths and 77,000 hospitalizations which were related to alcohol in 2016.
It further advises people who have never consumed alcohol to not start and while there is no safe limit for alcohol consumption, the users of alcohol are advised to limit use to Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines.
The improvement of the new food guideline, including alcohol harm, is based on long-standing research.
Lack of national alcohol control act
Currently, Canada does not have an alcohol act. There is some regulation through the Food and Drugs Act and the Excise Tax Act, but an overarching regulatory body is necessary to launch a comprehensive strategy on alcohol encompassing health, pricing, advertising and other alcohol policy measures.
In Canada, men using alcohol have extremely high per capita consumption of almost 19 liters pure alcohol per year, which puts them at a very high risk to suffer from alcohol harm. Males also suffer from increased alcohol dependency disorders and increased alcohol dependence when compared to the wider American region.
In this context the new food guide addressing health concerns arising from alcohol use, can be the first step for Canada in building a comprehensive alcohol policy in future.
Alcohol being mentioned in this new food guide, to me, is an encouraging sign that moving forward our government might decide to address alcohol in a comprehensive manner that will have significant and long lasting impact on Canadians’ lives,” said Catherine Paradis, the leading expert on alcohol at the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, per The Globe and Mail.