Here you will find common questions and answers about responsible alcohol use.

Yes. Beer, wine and hard liquor drinks are all filled with tons of sugar. Drinking one or more alcoholic drinks on a regular basis can add lots of calories to your diet and cause unwanted weight gain. If someone wants to lose weight, they might want to cut down on how much alcohol they drink.

Actually no. Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but it affects the quality of your sleep and cuts down on the amount of restful sleep you get.

Yes, alcohol can be addictive.

People with an alcohol addiction may have difficulty stopping by themselves, even if they want to. People do not plan to get addicted. They believe they can control how much and how often they drink. But alcohol changes the brain, and some people start to need it just to feel normal. Someone may be addicted to alcohol if they feel a physical need to drink when they stop drinking. Or they may be addicted if they stop drinking for a period of time and they feel anxiety, depression or anger. Alcohol addiction can affect every part of a person's life and cause serious problems with friends and family, work, mental health, money and the law.

Alcohol is a depressant or a downer, because it slows down parts of your brain. In small amounts, it can make you feel more relaxed or outgoing. But if you drink too much, it slows down your reaction time and makes it harder to think clearly, make good decisions, and can lead to accidents, fighting, coma or even death. 

People who do not drink alcohol now should not start drinking just to get the health benefits. They are better off eating healthy, exercising regularly and avoiding smoking.

However, people who drink alcohol occasionally and in small amounts can experience minor health benefits, like reduced heart disease and type two diabetes. But starting to drink or increasing your drinking will not improve your health. This is because:

  • Only people over 45 get health benefits from drinking small amounts of alcohol. Potential benefits do not apply to youth or young adults.
  • Any health benefits are lost if you drink more than the low-risk drinking guidelines even once and awhile.
  • Your risk of getting some kind of cancer increases when you drink as little as one drink per day, and this is especially true for women.

The risk of alcohol-related injuries increases with each drink. The weekly limit is weekly, and the daily limit is daily. The weekly amount of alcohol should not be "saved up" and drunk all in one or two days. Even if you only drink heavily once in a while, it still increases your risk of injury and long-term health problems.

Never leave a person alone who is passed out or not able to respond. Roll the person onto their side so they will not choke if they throw up. Place the head to the side as well, and keep them in this position until help arrives. Get help right away by calling the health centre/nurse on call, or take them to the health centre. Click here for more information.

The research shows that women have a greater risk for alcohol-related illnesses than men (breast cancer, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, liver disease). Plus, when drinking more than the limits suggested in the low-risk drinking guidelines, the risk of stroke is at least two times more for women than men.  

Also, women feel the effects of alcohol faster and longer than men, even if they are the same weight and height.This is because:

  • Women usually weigh less than men, and usually have more body fat. This causes alcohol to be absorbed more slowly and the effects of alcohol take longer to wear off.
  • Women have less water in their bodies to dilute alcohol and less of an enzyme that breaks down alcohol. So alcohol stays in a woman’s body longer, and she will feel the effects of alcohol more than men who drink the same amount.

The truth is that there is no way to sober up faster. Time is the only thing that will sober you up. That is why it is so important to be aware of how much you are drinking. It takes over one hour for your body to break down one standard drink. Remember that coffee is a stimulant and might keep you awake, but it will not make you sober up.

Food in your stomach only delays the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. A full stomach will not keep you from feeling the effects of alcohol or getting drunk.

 No. The same amount of alcohol is in all these drinks:

  • one can/bottle of beer (340 ml / 12 oz. at 5 per cent alcohol)
  • one glass of wine (142 ml / 5 oz. at 12 per cent alcohol)
  • one shot of hard liquor like vodka (43 ml / 1.5 oz. at 40 per cent alcohol).

Each of these is considered one standard drink.