Alcohol industry deceives the public about alcohol and cancer risk

-by Dena Schmidt

A joint effort by the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine has determined that the alcohol industry has used a pattern of denying, distorting and distracting the public about some of the dangers of alcohol consumption.

The companies often present the connection between cancer and alcohol use as ‘extremely complex,’ yet without a strong or consistent link between the two. Some make the inaccurate claim that there is absolutely no cancer risk for moderate or light drinking. Alcohol is also presented as just one of many cancer risks.

Nearly all alcohol companies hide or distort information about cancer risk

The group analyzed 26 alcohol companies in terms of the prevailing research as well as the information these organizations shared on their websites, marketing and other publications.

The results were quite disturbing…

The researchers determined that 24 of the 26 companies studied used misrepresentations and/or distortions of the current data related to alcohol and the risk of cancer. Colorectal and breast cancers were the most common cancers misrepresented in the data.

The truth is that alcohol consumption is a known risk factor for many forms of cancer, including liver, oral cavity, esophageal, colorectal and breast cancers. Why? In simple terms: consuming alcohol will suppress immune function and destabilize blood sugar levels – which is never a good idea, when it comes to helping the body to avoid disease.

Confusing the matter further was evidence that light to moderate alcohol consumption can actually protect against some cancers such as ovary and renal cancers; however, in 2016 the Committee on Carcinogenicity in the UK deemed this claim to be ‘unverified.’

Sometimes you have to wonder where they come up with these ‘unverified’ statistics. (are they trying to appease the alcohol industry in some way?)

Fact: There are health risks associated with light alcohol consumption

Other studies have attested to the health benefits of the antioxidant resveratrol in red wine. However, moderation is key to enjoying any alcohol consumption. And, in truth, the amount of resveratrol found in just one or two glasses offer an insignificant amount of health benefit.

In addition, although alcohol can function as a blood thinner – often touted as ‘good for the cardiovascular system’ – there are many other (natural) substances that help to keep the blood thin such as, turmeric, ginger and cinnamon, without harming the immune system.

Bottom line: the consensus in the UK is that cancer risk and other health risks far outweigh any possible benefits of drinking alcohol. The new research looked at information from 27 AI-funded organizations overseeing social groups and public relations in English-speaking countries.

While at just 4 percent the increased cancer risk caused by alcohol is relatively low, the research group takes issue with the way alcohol companies omit or obscure this information on their websites. The goal seems to be to deny, distort or distract from the truth about this potential health issue for obvious reasons.

Makes you wonder: What else is the alcohol industry hiding?

While overall the alcohol industry has not denied the risks of using alcohol like the tobacco industry did for many years, there seems to be a different policy related to cancer risk.

These findings reflect an important need for alcohol companies to reassess the information they are sharing regarding alcohol consumption and cancer risk. The researchers also call into question whether there might be other health areas about which the alcohol industry is not being transparent.

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