With a number of studies showing the health benefits of moderate drinking, you can feel pretty good about heading to happy hour, right? After all, a glass a day can be good for your heart. Well, it turns out there’s a big caveat. For women in their mid-40s or older, even just one alcoholic drink a day can increase the risk of breast cancer, according to a new study. (Isn’t getting older grand?)
Researchers with the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research found that even having as little as 10 grams of alcohol a day (that’s almost one full glass of wine) is linked to a 5 percent increase in breast cancer in premenopausal women and a 9 percent increase in postmenopausal women.
“I was most surprised by the alcohol result, that risk increases at just one drink a day, on average.”
According to the researchers, alcohol can cause cell mutations in DNA strains, which in turn can cause cancer. “I was most surprised by the alcohol result, that risk increases at just one drink a day, on average,” the study’s lead researcher Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD, tells CNN. “The increase with one drink a day was small, but the risk goes up from there. So that’s why the American Institute for Cancer Research recommends no more than one alcohol drink a day for women to reduce risk for cancer.”
But what about all that evidence that wine is good for the heart? According to researchers: It’s complicated. (Sigh.) While moderate wine consumption really might have some health benefits, it should be weighed against the risks, they say. So instead of pouring yourself a glass after dinner tonight, maybe call up your BFF and work out this dilemma over a bottle (of kombucha). Because time with your loved ones is definitely in the “good for you” category.