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Living a healthy lifestyle is important to many Canadians. So if you choose to drink beer, where
does it fit in?

Beer is a refreshing beverage enjoyed by many Canadians with a long history of being a popular
choice at social events and celebrations as well as a preferred beverage for some at meal time.
From a health perspective, many may find it reassuring to know that beer, like wine can fit into a
healthy lifestyle when adults are healthy and drink in moderation.*


We’re more mindful of the calories in the foods we eat and drink these days. It’s good to know a serving of beer has about the same number of calories as a serving of wine.**

Light and regular beer contains 99-147 calories per drink***, according to Health Canada’s Canadian Nutrient File**. Extra light beer is also available in Canada with calories as low as 67 per drink.


Beer is available in a range of alcohol levels offering choices to suit varying
tastes and options to moderate alcohol intake. Health Canada’s Food and
Drugs Act defines the common name classifications of beers according to
their alcohol level (percentage alcohol by volume):

1.1 – 2.5

Extra light beer

2.6 – 4.0

Light beer

4.1 – 5.5


5.6 – 8.5

Strong beer or
malt liquor

8.6 or more

Extra strong beer or
strong malt liquor


Did you know Canada has a set of low-risk drinking guidelines?

Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines were developed in 2011 by a team of independent Canadian and international experts on behalf of the National Alcohol Strategy Advisory Committee to help Canadians moderate their alcohol consumption and reduce their immediate and long-term alcohol related harm. They are supported by provincial and territorial health ministers and many Canadian health organizations.

The Guidelines recommend no more than:

•10 drinks a week for women, with no more than 2 drinks a day most days.
•15 drinks a week for men, with no more than 3 drinks a day most days.

On special occasions the Guidelines recommend:

• For women, no more than 3 drinks on any single occasion.
• For men, no more than 4 drinks on any single occasion.

The Guidelines recommend these safer drinking tips:

• Set limits for yourself and stick to them.
• Drink slowly. Have no more than 2 drinks in any 3 hours.
• For every drink of alcohol, have one non-alcoholic drink.
• Eat before and while you are drinking.
• Always consider your age, body weight and health problems that may suggest lower limits.
• While drinking may provide health benefits for certain groups of people, do not start to drink or increase your drinking for health benefits.

According to the Guidelines, zero alcohol is the limit when:

• Pregnant or planning to become pregnant or about to breastfeed.
• Driving a vehicle or using machinery and tools.
• Taking medicine or other drugs that interact with alcohol.
• Doing any kind of dangerous physical activity.
• Living with mental or physical health problems.
• Living with alcohol dependence.
• Responsible for the safety of others.
• Making important decisions.


The guidelines around drinking alcohol, specifically beer, is one of the most common questions health care providers and educators are asked when an adult patient is newly diagnosed with diabetes. According to Diabetes Canada, “as a general rule, there is no need to avoid alcohol because you have diabetes”.

It’s important to always consult your healthcare provider about alcohol and your health. Drinking beer is a personal choice. If you choose to drink beer, these tips can help.

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