New guidelines on cancer prevention recommend cutting out alcohol completely

The American Cancer Society (ACS) on Tuesday made a major change to its guidelines on cancer reduction and prevention, now saying it’s best to cut alcohol completely out of one’s diet.

“It is best not to drink alcohol,” said the ACS in the new guidelines.

Previously, the society recommended limiting alcohol consumption to one drink a day for women, and no more than two a day for men. A drink is defined as 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits. These amounts are still recommended for those who choose to not totally eliminate alcohol from their diet.

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In the United States, the ACS estimates that alcohol use accounts for about 6 percent of all cancers and 4 percent of all cancer deaths.

“Alcohol use is one of the most important preventable risk factors for cancer, along with tobacco use and excess body weight,” according to the ACS. 

Other significant changes included more physical activity and eating less processed and red meat — although the ACS also now recommends completely cutting processed and red meat from one’s diet, as well as sugar-sweetened beverages and “highly processed foods and refined grain products.”

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For physical activity, the ACS previously recommended adults do at least 150 minutes of “moderate-intensity” or 75 minutes of “vigorous-intensity activity” each week. Now, however, “Adults should engage in 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week; achieving or exceeding the upper limit of 300 minutes is optimal,” the ACS said in the updated guidance.

The new guidelines reportedly mark the first time in eight years the organization has released new guidance.

You can read more about the changes here.