Life is all about choices. Some of those choices include what to eat, what to drink, and how much.
If you knew your choices might increase your life expectancy, would you decide to choose differently? If you want to make some changes, be aware of certain popular beverages that can increase your risk for cancer.
The Facts About “Adult” Beverages
A large majority of us have enjoyed an alcoholic drink at one time or another, but few people realize that these can increase your risk of cancer. We may love those happy hour drinks with friends, or when we unwind after work with a glass of wine, but it is important to understand the risks. The fact is that the more someone drinks, and especially the more they drink over time, the higher their risk of developing alcohol associated cancers will be.
Alcohol is the name we commonly use for ethanol or ethyl alcohol. It’s found in beer, wines, spirits, malt liquors, and hard ciders. The National Toxicology Program of the US Department of Health and Human Services lists the consumption of alcohol as a known carcinogen. Translation: a substance capable of causing cancer and DNA damage in living tissue.
How much is too much, you may ask.
- Moderate drinking is quantified as one drink for any one day for women, or two drinks per day for men.
- Heavy drinking means four or more drinks on any one day for women, or eight drinks for the week. For men, heavy drinking means five or more drinks on any one day or fifteen for the week.
Patterns revealed in multiple studies show that drinking alcohol increases a person’s risk for developing multiple types of cancer, especially esophageal, liver, colon, breast, mouth and throat, head and neck, and cancer of the larynx.
The bottom line is that the less you drink, you lower your risk of cancer. Conversely, the more you drink, the higher your risk becomes.
Facts About Sugary Drinks
All the cells in our body need sugar or glucose for energy, even cancer cells. Sugar doesn’t necessarily cause cancer by itself. Rather, it’s what is does to the waistline that is problematic. Excess weight and body fat is actually what increases the risk for many cancers like colon and breast cancer. Excess weight and lack of exercise create a double whammy of cancer risk. Again, it’s all about those choices.
The greatest risk seems to be all the sugary drinks that have become ingrained in our culture. Sodas, sweet tea, power drinks and so many more all have an absurd amount of sugar that we really don’t need. Combine those with all the other products we consume that are sweetened with sugar, and we end up putting ourselves at risk for several serious conditions if we don’t pay attention.
Read labels and avoid the hidden sugars in many products that you eat and drink. Names like sucrose, fructose, lactose, maltase, glucose, and dextrose are all just other ways to say sugar.
Choose instead unsweetened teas, calorie-free drinks, sparkling water, and look to natural sugar for your fix. Fruits can be just as satisfying as a soda after a workout or day in the garden.
Instead of that morning coffee drink loaded with sugar you might try a Power Mocha Smoothie.
Not only are these substitutes refreshing, but they are a healthier choice.
One Last Word of Caution
If you normally like drinking your tea or coffee while it is bubbling hot, you might want to rethink that habit. If consumed while too hot, these beverages can increase your risk of esophageal cancer. So, be patient and wait until it cools a little.
One safe beverage? When in doubt, there is always just plain old water.
Make the choice to reduce your consumption of alcoholic and sugary drinks for a longer life. Then be sure to call Southwest Diagnostic Center for Molecular Imaging for regular cancer screenings and tests that can help detect any issues as soon as possible. You can request an appointment online, or give us a call at (214) 345-8300!