serious buzzkill: “light” drinking increases risk of breast cancer

I enjoy a glass of wine on a weekday evening. Like many mothers of young children that I know. Not every single night or anything, but an evening of all-new back-to-back episodes of Sister Wives, for example, is a perfectly acceptable reason to kick back and sip some relaxation once the kids are down.

For a while, I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that those last six pounds I never lost since Maggie was born (four YEARS ago) might just melt away if I gave up the vino. My friend Stacy, who had much success with the 17 Day Diet, said wine is the first thing that’s got to go: it’s all sugar.

But I was always able to tell myself that hey, I was being heart-healthy. Plus, a glass of red wine a day is said to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, which is something that runs in my family. Really, I was doing the only responsible thing, keeping my particular genetic propensities for disease at bay with a little Montepulciano.

That is, until last night, when the CBS evening news led off with reports of a new study linking “even light drinking”  to an increased risk of breast cancer.

Even better, Connor was standing there watching the story, in total panic, while I scrambled for the remote. Damn. I really do try hard not to have the news on TV when my kids are around. This is why.

“Mom! YOU DRINK WINE!” he said, aghast. “Are you going to get breast cancer?”

“No, honey,” I said. “They’re…well, they’re trying to scare people. Plus, I don’t drink that much.”

“They said even if you drink a LITTLE BIT,” he said, not at all dissuaded.

“Okay, then… I won’t drink wine anymore,” I said. (Where you can see me.)

“What if you go to restaurants?” he said, pressing the issue like a regular Nancy Grace. “WHAT THEN? Will you have wine THEN?”


“No, sweetie,” I said. “I won’t.” I then tried to change the subject by telling him of all the breast-cancer-risk-lowering behaviors I practice, like no aspartame, and exercise, and breastfeeding three kids.

Then I tried to explain that even a 15% increase in risk (as claimed by this study), for someone at low risk for breast cancer, is not a very large increase. But he hasn’t done percentages at school yet. So he wasn’t reassured so easily.

And of course, neither am I. Here’s hoping some other study comes out in a couple of weeks to debunk the fearmongering of this one. Until then, I’ll struggle with my conscience every time I have a sip of wine, even at a restaurant. Sigh.

Here’s an easier resolution for me to keep: no TV news when the kids are around. Maybe not for me either. A media diet might just be the miracle diet I’ve been looking for– I could lose six whole pounds of guilt.

Did you hear about this study? Will you change your drinking habits (if you drink) because of it?

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