Government alcohol advice should be based on evidence, not agendas

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Should adults cut their alcohol consumption in half for health reasons? That’s what a federal government advisory committee is recommending.

It matters because that recommendation is likely to get baked into the government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, due for a five-year update this year, and disseminated to health agencies and medical professionals nationwide. It’s the kind of advice that should be based on evidence — that there’s some great health benefit to cutting back. But in this case, there’s no evidence, only politics and the personal biases of advisory committee members.

For at least four decades, the scientific literature on alcohol consumption has consistently shown a strong link between moderate intake and better health outcomes compared to those who totally abstain from alcohol or binge drink. Thus, since the 1990s, the recommendation has been to limit alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men.

Out of the blue, the current advisory committee recommended the upper limit be set at no more than one drink per day for both sexes. Such a change implies that the research literature has dramatically shifted our understanding of the risks and benefits of moderate alcohol. That is not the case.

Read the full article at The Washington Examiner.