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Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Knowledge Gateway

A reference point for public health policy makers with reliable, independent and up-to date information on topics related to promotion of health and well-being.

Page | Last updated: 22 Apr 2024

Guidance for alcohol consumption

Examples of guidance for alcohol consumption as described by relevant health-related organisations



European Code Against Cancer (pdf)
  • 'If you drink alcohol of any type, limit your intake. Not drinking alcohol is better for cancer prevention.'
Spanish Ministry of Health 2020
  • There is no safe level of alcohol consumption. Not to drink alcohol is the only way of avoiding its damaging effects. Based on current scientific evidence, no health professional or institution should recommend its consumption as a way of improving any aspect of health.
ESC 2016
  • Moderate alcohol consumption [up to 20 g/day (2 units) for men and 10 g/day (1 unit) for women] is acceptable for those who drink alcoholic beverages, provided that triglycerid levels are not elevated.
NNR 2023 (pdf)
  • No safe lower limit for alcohol consumption has been established
  • The NNR2023 recommends avoiding alcohol intake. If alcohol is consumed, the intake should be very low. 
  • For children, adolescents and pregnant women abstinence from alcohol is advised.
UK Department of Health 2016
  • There is no level of regular drinking that can be considered as completely safe in relation to some cancers. People can reduce these risks by drinking less than the guidelines (no more than 14 units per week, evenly spread over 3 or more days and limiting the total amount on any occasion) or by not drinking at all.
DGAC 2020 (pdf)
  • For those who drink alcohol, recommended limits are up to 1 drink per day for both women and men
  •  The Dietary Guidelines do not recommend that individuals begin drinking or drink more frequently on the basis of potential health benefits.
NIAAA 2017
  • Low risk for developing alcohol use disorder (AUD): for women, no more than 3 drinks on any single day and no more than 7 drinks per week. For men, no more than 4 drinks on any single day and no more than 14 drinks per week.