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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Monday, January 18 2010. 18:00

Drink Lower Alcohol wines for Cancer

The World Cancer Research Fund has  urged wine drinkers to consider trying 10 per cent alcohol by volume wine instead of the usual 12 per cent to 14 per cent, if they cannot reduce the total intake, while advising people to drink less amount than recommended by the government to its UK residents.

Photo By:: Adil Arora

Hundreds of cases of cancer could be prevented if everyone switched to lower alcohol drinks, they said.  For instance, for every 100 people who switched, five would develop bowel cancer at some point in their lives, instead of six.

Around 20,000 of the 293,000 new cases of cancer diagnosed each year in Britain are thought to be caused by alcohol consumption (about 7%).

The WCRF suggests a lower recommended daily limit than the government recommends. The charity has said that to reduce cancer risk it is best not to drink alcohol at all but concedes that since there are proven benefits to the heart, they recommend drinking no more than two drinks a day for men and one for women.

The government's recommended daily limit is three to four units for men and two to three for women with at least two alcohol free days a week.

Dr Rachel Thompson, Science Programme Manager for WCRF, said: “From a cancer prevention point of view it is best not to drink at all. But we have to be realistic and the fact is that many people (in the UK) enjoy a drink and see it as part of their social life.

“If you drink quite a lot at the moment, the best advice is to reduce the number of drinks you have. But if people do not want to do this, switching to a lower alcohol alternative is still something positive they can do.”

"Most wines in the supermarket these days tend to be 13 or 14 per cent, which means finding lower-alcohol alternatives can be difficult. But it is worth the effort because switching to a lower-alcohol alternative is the kind of lifestyle change that can make a real difference because it is easy to stick to in the long term. 

This advisory may be good for slightly sweet wine from Mosel which have alcohol of 7-9% but will spell a doom for the big wines coming out of Spain, Australia and South Africa and Chile where 14% seems to have been the norm and the alcohol level often goes up to 15.5% and even 16%.

Several wineries like to mislead the consumer that higher alcohol in wine is not harmless if the wine has a good balanced alcohol. Due to global warming and the personal tastes in the previous decade, bold and powerful has been considered beautiful for wines.

Coincidentally, a UK wine importer and retailer Bottle Green has announced its plans  to launch a low alcohol wine with the units clearly displayed on the front label. Vetro, a 4% alc Lambrusco made in collaboration with Italian producer Medici Ermete, contains 3 units of alcohol in the 750 mL and has been launched in response to the Government's Know Your Limits campaign.

In India, the levels of 14% are most common though one can occasionally find wines at lower alcohol of 12-12.5%

DelWine has always advised to stick to lower level in alcohol while drinking wines. If you had to compare between a 15% alc wine vs. 12% alc wine, there is 25% more alcohol in the former for the same volume consumed. Otherwise, there is nothing new in the advisory. It is good to put the fear in people’s minds so that they don’t go over board.

It was interesting to find on the same webpage another earlier article which said that half a glass of wine everyday could mean 5 years of longer life!

We stick to our advisory to our readers- drink 2-3 glasses (6 glasses a bottle) every day, preferably with food if you are male and 1-2 glasses if you are female, until a conclusive study proves otherwise. We assume 12.5% alcohol so you must adjust the volumes higher or lower according to the alcohol content-editor


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