Can I drink alcohol?

If you choose to drink alcohol, you should limit your intake.

This is because alcohol offers little nutrition, but is high in kilojoules, and it can also be harmful to your health (with the more alcohol you drink, the greater the risks).

Even small amounts of alcohol are linked with an increased risk of some cancers (such as mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, stomach, bowel, liver and breast cancer). Too much alcohol may also damage the liver and brain and increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. And in pregnancy, drinking alcohol can harm the developing foetus.

For these reasons, no level of drinking alcohol can be guaranteed as completely safe.

If you do choose to drink, doing so within responsible limits will reduce your risk of alcohol-related harm, both in the short and long term.

The National Health and Medical Research Council recommends:

  • For healthy men and women, drinking no more than two standard drinks on any one day reduces the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury.
  • For healthy men and women, drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion reduces the risk of alcohol-related injury arising from that occasion.
  • For children and young people under 18 years of age, not drinking alcohol is the safest option.
  • For women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, not drinking is the safest option.
  • For women who are breastfeeding, not drinking is the safest option.
For more information about alcohol and planning a healthy diet, contact an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD).

Last updated March 2018, by DAA staff.

References:

Australian Government: National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian Dietary Guidelines.

Australian Government: National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian Guidelines for Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol.

Cancer Council Australia: Position Statement – Alcohol and Cancer Risk.