Is that little glass of wine a day healthy?

The increase in the risk of suffering from all types of cancers due to excessive consumption of alcohol is more than demonstrated. The data obtained in people with a high consumption of alcoholic beverages are more than known, although little importance has been given to the possible effect of light daily consumption of alcohol.

In fact, they have always heard healthy recommendations on the matter if the daily alcohol intake does not exceed certain limits: a beer a day or a couple of glasses of wine accompanying the meals. But is that “little glass of wine a day” really healthy?

Known effects of alcohol consumption

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), high alcohol consumption is considered the third risk factor for disease and mortality.

Specifically, the Research Agency establishes a direct relationship between the continued consumption of alcoholic beverages and the increased risk of colon and rectal cancer, breast and ovarian cancer, larynx, liver, esophagus, oral cavity and pharynx.

10% of cases of males with cancer, are due to excessive consumption of alcohol

The research concludes that in our continent, 10% of cancer cases in men are attributable to the consumption of alcoholic beverages, while in women the figures are around 3% of affected patients.

Some data that, evidently, are more than known and are more than contrasted. However, today we are used to hearing that moderate or light alcohol consumption may even be partially beneficial, being included in most diets prescribed by physicians.

So much so that even if we review the disastrous official food pyramid we can see that the moderate consumption of fermented alcoholic beverages, such as beer or wine, are included in the same nutritional step as meat proteins. We can see it in the illustration proposed by the healthy pyramid update of the SENC in 2015.

So, is that “little glass of wine” really beneficial?

All these affirmations and recommendations lead us to think that the light consumption of alcoholic beverages, not only is not harmful, but also can bring certain benefits. Is this true?

It seems that the reality is far from this type of official and popular recommendations, since recent meta-analyzes not only show that the light or sporadic consumption of alcoholic beverages is harmful, but even this low alcohol consumption is also associated with a greater risk of cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx, the esophagus and the female breast.

In addition to these data, studies have found for the first time a significant relationship between the consumption of alcohol and other types of cancers such as prostate cancer, from a low consumption of alcoholic volume (> 1.3, <24 g per day ). A statement that until now was inconclusive and contradictory.


With the passage of time and the appearance of new studies and meta-analysis, it seems that the old recommendations that invited alcoholic drinks sporadically or lightly, are limping on their own feet and becoming obsolete and contradictory.

Of course the decision “that glass of wine at meals” will be far less damaging than the excessive and continued alcohol intake, but what is clear is that science, as it proceeds, reaffirms that: the Moderate alcohol benefits … nothing!

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