One glass of wine per day may cause cancer
The waffling and inconsistency of medical advice is making us neurotic. Not too long ago, medical science was telling us that we could live longer by drinking one or two glasses of red wine per day. Researchers said that Frenchmen were relatively free from cardiovascular disease in spite of eating fatty foods because they drank wine with their meals.
Scientists then discovered that red wine contained resveratrol which is a compound that increases longevity. Even people who did not drink started a habit of drinking one glass of red wine with supper in order to live longer and avoid heart problems.
The latest research tells us that all of these studies overlooked something awful. Even one alcoholic drink per day increases the risk of cancer. Researchers who studied more than 1.2 million middle-aged women for an average of seven years in the U.K. estimated that alcohol consumption could be responsible for as many as 11% of breast cancers in women. Cancer epidemiologist Naomi Allen, one of the researchers, said:
"There were no minimum levels of alcohol consumption that could be considered to be without risk."
Drinking is not as bad as it seems. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has completed an extensive review of current scientific knowledge about the health effects of moderate alcohol consumption. It found that the lowest death rate from all causes occurs at the level of one to two drinks per day. That is, moderate drinkers have the greatest longevity.
The NIAAA's conclusion that moderate drinking is beneficial to heart health will be included in the next revision of the dietary guidelines to be issued by the U.S. government.
Drinking alcohol may slightly increase the risk of breast cancer. However, Dr. Lorraine Gunzerath of NIAAA emphasizes that women should weigh the small increase in breast cancer risk (one percentage point) against the sharp decrease in heart disease risk (40%) resulting from moderate drinking. Also important is the fact that about 4% of American women die of breast cancer while about 50% die of heart disease.
 Allen, N.E. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, March 4, 2009; vol 101: pp 296-305.
© Copyright - Antonio Zamora