Moderate Alcohol Intake Is Fine for the Heart, but It Boosts Breast Cancer Risk

Drinking light-to-moderate quantities of wine, beer or some other alcoholic beverage (one drink per day max for women and two for men) may help stave off cardiovascular disease, the leading killer in the U.S., but there’s a downside: increased breast cancer risk for women.

The latest evidence review, published by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), suggests a strong relationship between alcohol consumption and higher risk of breast cancer in women. And there is no safe consumption level—for every 10 grams of alcohol consumed (a standard drink is 14 g), breast cancer risk increases 5%. Nutritional factors that may lower breast cancer risk include eating lots of nonstarchy vegetables, dairy, carotenoids and calcium, though the evidence for this is limited.

The AICR estimates that 1 in 3 cases of breast cancer could be avoided by eliminating alcohol consumption, engaging in vigorous physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight.

Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD

Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD

"Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RDN, FAAP, is a board-certified pediatrician and obesity medicine physician, registered dietitian and health coach. She practices general pediatrics with a focus on healthy family routines, nutrition, physical activity and behavior change in North County, San Diego. She also serves as the senior advisor for healthcare solutions at the American Council on Exercise. Natalie is the author of five books and is committed to helping every child and family thrive. She is a strong advocate for systems and communities that support prevention and wellness across the lifespan, beginning at 9 months of age."

Leave a Comment





When you buy something using the retail links in our content, we may earn a small commission. IDEA Health and Fitness Association does not accept money for editorial reviews. Read more about our Terms & Conditions and our Privacy Policy.