Every five years, the Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) revisit the dietary guidelines "to promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases." The dietary guidelines include a chapter on alcohol (PDF). (A summary is on page D7-15.)
The Advisory Committee is recommending an average (weekly) rather than daily consumption guideline. Tim Naimi's accompanying commentary and Marin Institute's talking points (PDF) outline the issues. "The proposed change amounts to an endorsement for most men to consume up to 4 drinks and for most women to consume up to 3 drinks on days they actually consume alcohol," said Dr. Tim Naimi.
The real-world effect of the proposed new alcohol guidelines would likely be to encourage greater daily consumption of alcohol, discourage appropriate caution about using alcohol for health benefits, and open the door for the alcohol industry to misrepresent federal alcohol consumption guidelines to consumers, according to the Marin Institute.
Submit written comments to the USDA online (up to 2000 characters, attachments allowed). The USDA does consider all comments seriously before releasing the final version later in the year. But time is very short: the deadline is Thursday, July 15 at 5 pm E.D.T.
Should the draft dietary guidelines be revised? Write to the USDA to share your views on the report.
Radical and Dangerous: Possible Changes to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Alcohol (Commentary by Dr. Tim Naimi)
New Guidelines on Alcohol Consumption Threaten Public Health & Safety (Talking points by Marin Institute, PDF)