In recent years, there’s been a deluge of research fostering the belief that drinking a glass of wine every day was actually really good for you, the most popular of which was a July 2015 study that claimed drinking a glass of wine right before bed could help you lose weight.
It doesn’t take an expert to understand why a story like that would be so beguiling, but more often than not, when it comes to our health, the old adage stands: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
The latest findings by the American Institute for Cancer Research on how weight, diet, and exercise affect the risk of breast cancer confirm what you already know: that an unhealthy lifestyle has unhealthy effects on the human body.
More specifically, the report found that “adult weight gain and excess body fat increase risk for post-menopausal breast cancer,” and that “alcoholic drinks increase the risk of post- and pre-menopausal breast cancers,” while “regular vigorous physical activity reduces the risk of both post- and pre-menopausal breast cancers.”
Breastfeeding was also found to decrease the risks of post- and pre-menopausal cancers. Oddly enough, while being overweight between over the age of 30 was found to increase the risk of breast cancer, being overweights between the ages of 18 and 30 was actually found to decrease said risk.
Their conclusion is that “a third of US breast cancers could be prevented by being active, not drinking alcohol and staying a healthy weight.”
The comprehensive new report analyzed 199 global studies, which consisted of over 12 million women and over 260,000 cases of breast cancer—so it’s pretty legit. In comparison, the Washington University study that claimed that wine could help you lose weight and fight cancer thanks to a substance called resveratrol was done on mice. In that study’s defense, the researchers did say that while “resveratrol in wine has beneficial effects,” the amount of resveratrol found in wine is fractional in comparison to fruits like grapes, strawberries, and blueberries anyway.
Before you go cry into a glass of wine, here’s the upside:
While it was found that drinking just one glass of wine a day could increase your chances of post-menopausal breast cancer by 9 percent, and it was found that exercise reduces that risk by 10 percent, it’s not like leading a healthy lifestyle will absolutely absolve you of the risk of cancer, since genetics play a large role in the disease. As such, you’re welcome to follow my father’s life motto, “If you really, really want to, you should.”
The other good news is that, according to the American Heart Association, drinking a glass of red wine a day really is good for your heart, so long as it’s just one (men can have two because life is unfair). Which means that, if you want to enjoy your favorite alcoholic beverage and still maintain a healthy lifestyle, another old adage remains true: everything in moderation.
Diana Bruk has written extensively about dating, travel, Russia-American relations, and women’s lifestyle for Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Elle, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Guernica, Salon, Vice, The Paris Review, and many more publications. As the former Viral Content Editor at Hearst Digital media and fellow at BuzzFeed, she also has a special understanding of the Internet and vast experience in human interest stories. You can learn more about Diana on her website or Twitter.