Fact: Light drinking is killing you

We’ve been told a small glass of wine from time to time is good for us. Now a new study suggests a single alcoholic drink per night could be a risk. Should we be worried?

According to Time Magazine, “too much alcohol” could be as little as a single drink per night for women and two drinks per night for men.

Scientists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health have reviewed the health and drinking habits of 136,000 people over 30 years. They found some concerning trends.

Those who drank regularly over this time showed a higher risk of alcohol-related cancers. Far more surprising: how little it takes to increase that risk.

For women, up to one drink a day led to a 13% greater risk of alcohol-related cancers (particularly breast cancer).

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Men, somewhat unfairly, had a little more lenience, with two drinks a day increasing the risk of alcohol-related cancers.

However, male smokers (and even those who have quit smoking) had a significantly higher of alcohol-related cancers risk than non-smokers in the study.

Postdoctorate fellow Yin Cao, lead author of the study, told Time that these results should encourage light drinkers to become more aware of their consumption levels.

“For men, especially those who ever smoked, they should limit alcohol to even below the recommended limit,” she said.

With so many other reputable studies proclaiming the benefits of a glass of wine here and there, it’s hard to know what to believe. Our bodies are notoriously complicated and contradictory things, and any researcher would agree that sometimes you just deserve that second glass.

However, this new study comes as a welcome reminder to moderate what we drink on a day-by-day basis, and hopefully make a more informed choice in balancing our personal needs against those of the body.

Does this research make you rethink your habits? How much do you believe is “too much”?