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Biden Health Czar: Dietary Guidelines Should Be Like Canada’s: Less Beer
Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for HBO

The director for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, has warned new guidelines could match Canada’s: no more than two beers per week for men.

Dr. George Koob, the director of the NIAAA, said this week that the guidelines for how many alcoholic beverages are recommended per week for Americans are currently under review and could soon change when new guidance is issued in 2025.

“I mean, they’re not going to go up, I’m pretty sure. So, if [alcohol consumption guidelines] go in any direction, it would be toward Canada,” Koob said, according to the Daily Mail reported. “If there’s health benefits, I think people will start to re-evaluate where we’re at.”

“Most of the benefits people attribute to alcohol, we feel they really have more to do with what someone’s eating rather than what they’re drinking,” Koob stated. “So it really has to do with the Mediterranean diet, socio-economic status, that makes you able to afford that kind of diet and make your own fresh food and so forth. With this in mind, most of the benefits kind of disappear on the health side.”

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2020-2025), part of the USDA, currently recommends limiting drink intake to two drinks or less per day:

One alcoholic drink equivalent is defined as containing 14 grams (0.6 fl oz) of pure alcohol.The following count as one alcoholic drink equivalent: 12 fluid ounces of regular beer (5% alcohol), 5 fluid ounces of wine (12% alcohol), or 1.5 fluid ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits (40% alcohol). To help Americans move toward a healthy dietary pattern and minimize risks associated with drinking, adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink or to drink in moderation by limiting intakes to 2 drinks or less in a day for men and 1 drink or less in a day for women, on days when alcohol is consumed.

Koob admitted he typically consumes two glasses of white wine per week, usually a “buttery Californian Chardonnay.”

“Alcohol infuses many lives in many positive ways,” Dr. Dan Malleck, a health sciences expert at Brock University in Canada, told the Daily Mail. “We celebrate accomplishments, mark occasions, bring wine to parties, meeting with friends, commiserate, relax, blow off steam … these are important activities, and part of the texture and tone of many lives.”

Amanda Berger, Ph.D., Distilled Spirits Council Vice President of Science and Health, reacted to Koob’s remarks, saying:

Dr. Koob’s comments calling for a drastic change to the federal recommendations on alcohol before the review of alcohol research has even begun undermines the scientific rigor and objectivity of the entire Dietary Guidelines process. For more than 30 years, the federal guidance on alcohol consumption has been no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men for those who choose to drink. It is extremely alarming and inappropriate for a federal official to predetermine the outcome of the Dietary Guidelines and suggest changing decades of precedent without the benefit of the scientific review to support such a sweeping move.

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