Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines

Canada’s Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines are based on the average person but the effects of alcohol vary greatly from one person to another so it’s important to know yourself. Weight and size, genetics, family history, mixing alcohol with other substances or medications, stress, hunger and lack of sleep can all change the way alcohol affects you.

In Alberta, alcohol is so much a part of social events that it is not usually thought of as a drug. However, alcohol is a drug and it is the drug used the most in Alberta. 76% of Albertans drink alcohol. However, the good news is the large majority drink responsibly. The proportion that drink harmfully varies by age group.

Source: 2015 Alcohol and Alberta Booklet, Alberta Health Services

What’s the Limit?

15 drinks per week for men. That’s three standard drinks on most days, four on special occasions.

For Men

3 drinks per day maximum for men


10 drinks per week for women. That’s two standard drinks on most days, three on special occasions.

For Women

2 drinks per day maximum for women


85% of Albertans stay within Canada’s low-risk drinking guidelines

Want to find out where you fit? Take the quiz.

Below are a few tips to enjoy responsibly:

  • Plan non-drinking days every week to avoid developing a habit
  • Adopt lower limits than those recommended for adults in general:
    • Fewer than 10 drinks for women or 15 for men per week
    • Fewer than 3 drinks for women or 4 for men on any occasion
  • Check with a doctor or a pharmacist before using alcohol when taking medication
  • Pour smaller drinks
  • Enjoy spritzers so your drinks have less wine
  • Drink water or flavoured mineral water instead of alcohol
  • Host smarter parties
    • Be sure to serve beverages other than alcohol
    • Serve snacks throughout the night
    • Pace your drinking and when you serve drinks
    • Plan for guests to stay or get a safe ride home so that no one drinks and drives

Are all beers created equal?

Nope! The alcohol content of a beer can vary from 1.1 to 11 per cent and up. Compare how your beer choices are adding up to 1 standard drink.
– based on 1 standard drink which contains 17 ml of pure alcohol.

Craft brewer chart

Size matters! 

See how many standard drinks are in the beer serving sizes below.
– based on a standard beer at 5%

Craft brewer chart

Yes, you can still have a couple

Social events such as parties and alcohol often go hand-in-hand. Keep in mind, most things are better in moderation, including alcohol. Everyone has a better time when friends and family members drink responsibly.

Canada’s Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines

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