You may have heard multiple reports claiming a little bit of alcohol, such as a nightly glass of red wine, is good for you. While there may be some health benefits to drinking alcohol, it does not come without health risks. According to a recently published study out of the journal Addiction, drinking alcohol may have more negative long-term side effects than we thought.
The study reveals that drinking alcohol puts us at greater risk for developing cancer – more specifically, cancer may develop in any of seven different areas of the body: the liver, the breasts, the colon, the larynx and more.
How much alcohol is too much? How much do we need to cut back to lower our risk – and what can you do if you want to cut back on your alcohol consumption, but can’t?
Low to moderate alcohol consumption also puts us at risk
Unfortunately, the idea that engaging in moderate drinking only will make you healthier has now been deemed a myth. While avoiding heavy drinking is something you can and should do to keep yourself physically and mentally healthy, low alcohol consumption still puts you at risk.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines low-risk drinking as no more than three drinks in one day for women and four drinks in one day for men, and no more than seven drinks per week for women and no more than 14 drinks per week for men. Anything over five drinks per day, five or more days per week, is considered heavy drinking, which puts you at an even greater risk for developing negative health effects like cancer.
What can you do to decrease your risk of developing alcohol-related cancers?
It goes without saying that the more you consume of a disease-promoting substance, the higher your risk for developing that illness. The less you consume, the lower your risk. If you are a low-risk or moderate drinker, here are a few tips to help you cut back even more.
- Limit your alcohol consumption to weekends, and even then, limit yourself to one or two drinks on Friday and Saturday evenings.
- You can also reserve drinking alcohol for special occasions only.
- When you have had your one or two Friday or Saturday night drinks, switch to water or another beverage, especially if you are a social drinker and just need any kind of drink in front of you.
What if you want to cut back on how much you drink … but can’t?
Now that science shows us another reason we need to pay closer attention to our alcohol consumption, you might be thinking you actually want to start drinking less. But maybe even the thought of cutting back makes you feel uneasy. Maybe you really do want to cut back, but can’t convince yourself even to try.
If you can’t even fathom cutting back on your alcohol consumption, it’s possible you might suffer from addiction. Don’t worry; you can still take back control over your life.
Start by taking our Test My Addiction Assessment. This will help you determine whether or not you are dealing with an addiction to alcohol. From there, you will be able to take steps to get the help you need to live a healthier, alcohol-free life.
These days, it may feel like every other study proves something new will give us cancer. The key to decreasing your risk for these kinds of illnesses really is to take steps to cut back. Adopting other healthy habits on top of minimizing the unhealthy ones will help increase your risk for living longer and feeling great while doing it. A little alcohol now and then isn’t so bad, but too much of anything will almost always result in a less-than-ideal outcome.