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Casks and cancer - Is expensive wine better for you?

Friday 27 May, 2011 by Bek

A couple of weeks ago we launched some new figures around the impact of alcohol on cancer. We might as well have burnt the Australian flag, barracked for the English cricket team and barbequed Skippy for the outrage it caused.

Of course, we knew it wouldn't be a very popular message, but it's one we felt people needed to be aware of.

For the past few weeks many individuals and interest groups have been responding to our position statement on alcohol with various arguments.

While we were prepared for that ol' chestnut around red wine being good for your heart (a position not supported by the Heart Foundation by the way), we weren't prepared for some of the more unique responses.

A case in point: It's only cheap wine that causes cancer. So if you avoid the cask of passion pop and stick to the Grange, you'll be ok, right?

Unfortunately, no.

It's a bit like expecting to survive a plane crash because you're sitting in first class. Yes, the service is better, you have more leg room and you're unlikely to want for hot towels, but at the end of the day your flatbed can't save you from the one invariable factor - you are kilometres above the ground without any wings - the same as the folks down the back in cattle class.

You see, it matters little whether the grapes that made your wine were pressed between the thighs of blonde virgins or fermented in the plastic bag you ultimately buy it in - whatever the pedigree all wine contains alcohol and ethanol - and it's these core ingredients that are carcinogenic.

So, some good news for those who do choose to drink, there's no need to blow your budget on fine wine, in fact it might be advisable to check out lower alcohol products such as low strength beer or reduced alcohol wine, as these contain less alcohol and therefore decrease your risk of developing alcohol-related cancer.

For those who do like a tipple, we recommend you stick to two standard drinks a day to keep yourself at a low risk. And for those who like to fly - we highly recommend sitting at the bulk heads for extra leg room.



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