Home / News / World /  Is one glass wine a day healthy? WHO busts common myths about alcohol consumption

For far too long, we have believed that alcohol is good for health if consumed in moderation and, one glass of wine or a peg of scotch have several health benefits. Now, busting the myth, World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed when it comes to alcohol consumption, there is no safe amount that does not affect health.

In the Lancet Public Health, the WHO has said,  alcohol is a toxic, psychoactive, and dependence-producing substance and has been classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer decades ago. “It causes at least seven types of cancer, including the most common cancer types, such as bowel cancer and female breast cancer." 

The UN health agency also cited that in the EU, cancer-linked deaths are fast increasing and majority of all alcohol-attributable deaths are due to different types of cancers.

How much is safe to drink?

In response to the question that how much is actually safe to drink,  WHO said currently available evidence cannot indicate the existence of a threshold at which the carcinogenic effects of alcohol “switch on". It further cited, “There are no studies that would demonstrate that the potential beneficial effects of light and moderate drinking on cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes outweigh the cancer risk"

“We cannot talk about a so-called safe level of alcohol use. It doesn’t matter how much you drink – the risk to the drinker’s health starts from the first drop of any alcoholic beverage. The only thing that we can say for sure is that the more you drink, the more harmful it is," said Dr Carina Ferreira-Borges, acting Unit Lead for Noncommunicable Disease Management and Regional Advisor for Alcohol and Illicit Drugs in the WHO Regional Office for Europe.

Can light to moderate drinking can also cause cancer?

Globally, the WHO European Region has the highest alcohol consumption level and the highest proportion of drinkers in the population. Here, over 200 million people in the Region are at risk of developing alcohol-attributable cancer.

Latest data indicate that half of all alcohol-attributable cancers in the are caused by “light" and “moderate" alcohol consumption – less than 1.5 litres of wine or less than 3.5 litres of beer or less than 450 millilitres of spirits per week


Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.
More Less
Recommended For You
Get alerts on WhatsApp
Set Preferences My ReadsWatchlistFeedbackRedeem a Gift CardLogout