Low-risk alcohol drinking guidelines
Reduce your risks: follow Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines.
If you choose to drink alcohol, reduce your long-term health risks by drinking no more than: 2 beverages per drinking occasion most days, a maximum of 10 beverages a week for women 3 beverages per drinking occasion most days, a maximum of 15 beverages a week for men
Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines (Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse) are for people of aged 25 and over. People 19 to 24 should NEVER exceed the daily and weekly limits.
Reduce your risk of injury and harm by using no more than 2 standard serving sized alcoholic beverages (for women) or 3 standard serving sized beverages (for men) on any single occasion. Long-term alcohol misuse is a major risk factor for a wide range of serious conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and breast cancer.
For these guidelines, a standard serving size beverage is:
- 341 ml (12 oz) bottle of beer (4 to 5% alcohol)
- 341 ml (12 oz) cooler (4 to 5% alcohol)
- 43 ml (1.5 oz) mixed drink (40% alcohol)
- 43 ml (1.5 oz) shot (40% alcohol)
- 142 ml (5 oz) glass of wine (10 to 12% alcohol)
- 85 ml (3 oz) glass of fortified wine (16 to 18% alcohol)
Each standard serving sized alcoholic beverage noted above contains 13.4 grams of alcohol.
Always measure before you pour.
Safer alcohol drinking tips
- Set limits for yourself and stick to them.
- Drink alcohol slowly. Have no more than 2 alcoholic drinks in any 3 hours.
- For every alcoholic beverage, have one non-alcoholic beverage.
- Eat before and while you are drinking alcohol.
- Always consider your age, body weight, and health problems that might suggest even lower limits (drinking less).
- While drinking very low quantities of alcohol may provide health benefits for certain groups of people, do not start to use alcohol or increase your alcohol use for health benefits.
- Avoid drinking any alcohol a few days every week: plan ahead. This will help you avoid developing a habit.
When zero drinks is the limit
Do not drink when you are:
- driving a vehicle or using machinery and tools
- taking medicine or other drugs that interact with alcohol
- doing any kind of dangerous physical activity
- living with mental or physical health problems
- living with alcohol dependence
- pregnant or planning to be pregnant
- responsible for the safety of others
- making important decisions
If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or about to breastfeed, the safest choice is to drink no alcohol at all.
Assess your alcohol use
Download the Saying When app from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
This item was last modified on September 20, 2016