B.wine makes good blood, our grandparents used to say. But is it really true? The idea that moderate alcohol consumption is not harmful and can actually bring benefits to our health is quite widespread. Unfortunately this is not the case and the scientific community has been engaged for years in denying and combating the false myths surrounding the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
What cancers are associated with alcohol consumption?
The data speak for themselves: the consumption of alcoholic beverages represents a important risk factor for various cancers, from that of the liver to those of the oral cavityof the colorectal and even of the breast in postmenopausal women.
How does alcohol promote the onset of cancer?
There are several mechanisms through which alcohol contributes to the onset of cancer. At the level of the oral mucosa and in the liver, alcohol is capable of causing inflammation and cell changes which over time can develop tumor characteristics, while in the colon it is transformed into acetaldehyde, substance recognized as a carcinogen. In addition, alcohol is capable of stimulate the synthesis of estrogen, which we know is involved in the onset of breast cancer.
Are there any drinks that are safer than others?
There are no “healthier” alcoholic beverages than other “more harmful” ones, because what damages the cells is the ethanol they contain. Beer, wine and spirits are therefore equivalent if the amount of alcohol (ethanol) they contain is the same.
Is there a safe amount of alcohol?
There is no alcohol consumption without health risks: any quantity of ethanol ingested is in fact capable of causing damage to the cells of our organism and thus determine an increase in oncological risk.
What recommendations to follow?
In 2007 the World Cancer Research Fund) has published a handbook with recommendations to follow on the subject of nutrition and cancer, which also includes indications on alcohol consumption. These guidelines advise against the intake of any alcoholic beverages and recommend for those who consume limit the quantity to one glass of wine (120 ml) per day for women and two for men and only during meals.
How to calculate the amount of alcohol contained in a drink?
Knowing how much alcohol is contained in a drink can help you follow the recommendations of experts, who use the standard Alcohol Unit, equal to 12 grams of ethanol, in their indications. To calculate the quantity of alcohol in 100 ml starting from the “degrees” of a drink, it is necessary to multiply the value expressed as a percentage on the label by 0.8. For example, 100ml of 4.5-degree (4.5%) beer will contain 3.6 grams of alcohol [4,5 x 0,8]equivalent to just under 12 (11.9) grams in a 330ml can.
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