A drink a day … can give you cancer.

Is it time to retire all of those old “a drink a day is good for you” studies yet? Especially since they were generally funded by associations of brewers and wineries?

According to this CBC article:

Downing as little as one alcoholic drink a day seems to increase a woman’s risk for developing cancer, according to a British study that looked at a million middle-aged women.

The study in Tuesday’s issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggested the cancer risks of alcohol may outweigh any potential benefits it has on the heart.

“These findings suggest that even low levels of drinking increase a woman’s risk of developing cancer of the breast, liver and rectum — and in smokers, cancers of the mouth and throat,” Naomi Allen of the University of Oxford, who led the study, said in a statement.

Low to moderate alcohol consumption may account for nearly 13 per cent of the cancers studied, the researchers said.

This dovetails with the EPIC (European Prospective Investigation of Cancer) study earlier, which came to similar conclusions. So stop telling people that a drink a day is good for them: it causes cancer, and let’s be honest here: there are far better ways to improve your heart health than to drink alcohol.

If heart health is your concern, here’s an idea: try a better diet and regular exercise. Regular alcoholic drinking is an absolutely ridiculous way of trying to improve your heart, especially since we have scientific confirmation of its considerable down side.

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2 Responses to A drink a day … can give you cancer.

  1. Keith Baker says:

    Mike;

    I think the jury is still out on alcohol’s relationship to cancer. And there are some statistical
    games going on also. If alcohol increases breast cancer rates by 1% but can decrease heart disease
    by 30%, and heart disease is by far the more prevalent illness, then maybe that red wine is
    justified. I was talking to a physician and he thought that the two most important things one
    could do for their heart (assuming they did not smoke) was regular exercise and a glass or two of
    red wine a day.

    I don’t know about Canada, but the US still labors under Puritian thinking; its hard to get
    unbiased information when the issue is alcohol. Sure the beverage industry has their ax to grind,
    but there are many well funded foundations that still believe any alcohol is too much.

  2. Michael Wong says:

    Did you not read the article? The study isn’t even from the US at all, and they did specifically mention the trade-off between any heart benefit and cancer. Besides, the blood-thinner heart benefit is just for people who have high blood pressure: an endemic problem in the US with its horrible diet but not an intrinsic human condition. Also, the much-touted wine ingredient anti-oxidant resveratrol is found in all grapes, not just wine. If you eat fruit instead of sticking to a lousy Midwest meat and potatoes diet, you should be getting your anti-oxidants without having to drink wine.

    Rat poison (aka Warfarin) is used medically as a blood thinner too, but nobody would tell you that it’s considered a generally healthy thing to ingest.

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