What Constitutes as ‘Moderate’?
A study from Japan shows a notably strong connection between four types of cancer and drinking moderate amounts of alcohol. Researchers evaluated the drinking habits of 63,000 Japanese cancer patients and found a 5% increased risk of developing cancer if they had one drink a day for 10 years. For patients who had two drinks a day for 40 years, the risk shot up to 54%. The association particularly stood out for mouth, throat, colon, and stomach cancers.
Do These Results Translate to The United States?
One thing to note is that Japanese people have a genetic variation that affects how they metabolize alcohol. So, it’s possible repeating the study here could produce different results. What is for certain, is that the more anyone drinks, the higher the cancer risk. This is because the body breaks down alcohol into acetaldehyde, a chemical that damages your DNA and prevents your body from repairing the damage being done. So consuming alcohol can make you vulnerable to potential cancer tumors.
Can I Safely Drink Alcohol?
The CDC has specific guidelines for alcohol consumption. They consider drinking to be ‘moderate’ at the rate of one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. This roughly correlates to:
- Beer – 12 ounces
- Wine – 5 ounces
- 80-Proof Distilled Spirits or Liquor – 1.5 ounces
As far as wine is concerned, some studies suggest drinking one glass could lower your risk for heart disease. But, research surrounding cancer is less clear and a positive effect has not been reported by epidemiological studies.