Drinking guidelines in Québec
Quebecers can find drinking guidelines in various publications. They are available through medical associations, in Canada’s Food Guide and from the Canadian Cancer Society, among others. To date, however, no government authority has published any official recommendations.
Éduc’alcool’s excellent and trusted reputation in Quebec makes it the ideal organization to propose drinking guidelines. In fact, our publications on alcohol and health are widely recognized for their expertise and serious approach.
Éduc’alcool has been studying drinking habits in Quebec for almost 20 years. We have a sensitive finger on the pulse of the culture and the role alcohol plays in people’s lives. All our publications on drinking are based on scientific research. More than 82% of Quebecers think the organization has high credibility and they willingly turn to us when they have questions about alcohol and drinking.
Recommended number of drinks
Standard drinks and their alcohol content
There is the same amount of alcohol in one regular beer (340 ml/12 oz, 5% alcohol), one glass of wine (140 ml/5oz, 12% alcohol), one glass of fortified wine (85 ml/3oz, 20% alcohol) and one shot of spirits (45 ml/1.5 oz, 40% alcohol). Each of these is considered a standard drink.
With cider, malt-based beverages or pre-mixed drinks (e.g. coolers), which are usually but not always served in a 140 ml/5 oz glass, you have to check the bottle label for the alcohol content, which can be anywhere from 2.5% to 20%.
2 • 3 • 4 • 0
The recommended number of drinks – 2, 3, 4 or 0 – varies primarily according to sex.
2 Women who want to drink moderately should have no more than 2 drinks a day or 10 drinks a week.
3 Men who want to drink moderately should have no more than 3 drinks a day or 15 drinks a week.
3 To avoid intoxication and the associated complications, women should have no more than 3 drinks on a single occasion.
4 Men who wish to avoid intoxication and the associated complications should have no more than 4 drinks on a single occasion.
0 To avoid any kind of habituation or dependency, it is recommended that everyone – men and women – choose not to drink at all at least one or two days a week.
0 It is inappropriate to drink alcohol under certain circumstances, such as:
- When you have important decisions to make
- When you are engaged in dangerous physical activity
- When you are operating a motor vehicle, machinery, or mechanical or electrical equipment
- When you are responsible for the safety of others
- When you take medication that is affected by alcohol
- When you have mental or physical health problems
- When you have a problem with alcohol dependence
0 While the risks of light drinking during pregnancy are considered minimal, no safe limit has been established. Therefore, if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, it is recommended that you do not drink at all. Nursing mothers should not drink before nursing.
And a reminder: If you are a woman of child-bearing age, Éduc’alcool recommends that you do not drink alcohol from the time you decide to become pregnant, or if you think you might be pregnant.