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- Limit or avoid alcohol
Limit or avoid alcohol
Many people drink alcohol to relax and socialise. However, drinking too much may lead to weight gain. Drinking alcohol also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. Even low levels of alcohol consumption can increase cancer risk, and the risk increases with every drink you consume.
Cancer Council recommends that people limit their alcohol consumption. Those who do not drink should not take up drinking alcohol.
The National Health and Medical Research Council’s new alcohol guidelines for healthy adults are:
- To reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury for healthy men and women, drink no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day.
- The less you drink, the lower your risk of alcohol-related harm. For some people, not drinking at all is the safest option.
The guidelines also recommend no alcohol use for pregnant and breastfeeding women, women planning a pregnancy and people younger than 18.
One standard drink contains 10 grams of alcohol, but remember that drinks served at home, restaurants and bars are usually more than a standard drink.
How to reduce your alcohol intake
- Use water to quench thirst and sip alcoholic drinks slowly.
- Alternate alcoholic drinks with a glass of water.
- Set yourself a limit and stop once you’ve reached it.
- Switch to light beer, dilute spirits with extra mixer and ice, or have a spritzer or shandy (wine or beer mixed with soda or mineral water).
- Wait until your glass is empty before topping it up to keep count of your drinks.
- Have a few alcohol-free days each week.
- Eat while you drink to slow your drinking pace and fill yourself up.
- Offer to be the designated driver so that you limit your alcohol intake or don’t drink.
Dr Haryana Dhillon, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Medical Psychology & Evidence-based Decision-making, School of Psychology, University of Sydney, NSW; Polly Baldwin, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Jessica Barbon, Dietitian, Southern Adelaide Health Network, SA; Dr Anna Burger, Liaison Psychiatrist and Senior Staff Specialist, Psycho-oncology Clinic, Canberra Region Cancer Centre, ACT; Elizabeth Dillon, Social Worker, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Prof Paul Glare, Chair in Pain Medicineand Director, Pain Management Research Institute, University of Sydney, NSW; Nico le Kinnane, Nurse Coordinator, Gynaecology Services, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Amanda Piper, Manager, Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Kyle Smith, Exercise Medicine Research Institute, Edith Cowan University, WA; Aaron Tan, Consumer; Dr Kate Webber, Medical Oncologist and Research Director, National Centre for Cancer Survivorship, NSW. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
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