In the 1970’s the first studies broke the news that alcohol raised “good” cholesterol levels and reduced plaque build-up in arteries, helping with overall cardiovascular health. With heart disease as the leading cause of death in North America, this was exciting news! Subsequently, Mayo Clinic concurred that drinking in moderation can reduce cardiovascular risk, however, there are several caveats around the amount of consumption and risk of other diseases.
A new sobering truth about alcohol has emerged showing there is no safe amount of alcohol consumption when it comes to cancer risk. An article published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences (September 2017) states that when alcohol is consumed, acetaldehyde, a highly reactive compound, is produced and can cause DNA damage. Acetaldehyde is also found in ripe fruits and coffee, however when alcohol is metabolized, the levels of acetaldehyde increases. While other studies show that acetaldehyde can induce DNA mutation leading to cancer development, further studies are needed to understand the complete mechanism.
If you choose to drink, the Canadian Cancer Society recommends women have less than one standard drink per day on average, and men should have less than two. Looking to de-stress after a hard day? You might want to reconsider that visit to the pub or kicking back with a few glasses of wine!