NYS Certified Nutritionist

Alcohol and Breast Cancer

The media love to alarm people with, what I dub, The Nutrition Gospel of the Week.  I read many articles describing studies on nutrition and health, and I often reassure people about their food choices, or teach them how to modify and incorporate scientific findings into their own unique eating styles.

When I see articles from different sources repeating the same information, I take notice.  The following information is just one example of information I have seen repeatedly.   In May of this year, the World Cancer Research Fund International/American Institute for Cancer Research, Continuous Update Project Report announced that consuming just one alcoholic beverage per day increases the risk of breast cancer in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women.  While physical activity, especially vigorous activity, decreases risk, London researchers announced their conclusions after reviewing 119 studies of over 12 million women worldwide, with more than 260,000 cases of breast cancer.

Alcohol is converted into acetaldehyde [a poisonous byproduct of alcohol metabolism] which accumulates in the body over time, causing damage to cells which can lead to cancer.  For years, the American Cancer Society has been advising women – If you don’t drink…don’t start.  If you do drink, do not exceed one drink per day.  For men [their livers are more efficient at processing toxins from alcohol] they advise no more than two drinks per day.  A drink is one jigger of liquor, a 5 ounce glass of wine, or one can of beer.