Food & Agriculture

CFA Asks Dietary Guidelines Committee for Straight Talk on Alcohol and Cancer

CFA submitted the following comments to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The comments urge the Committee to support an accurate, up-to-date depiction of the science linking alcohol and cancer in the next edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Drinking alcohol is the third most important cause of cancer that is within a person’s control, behind smoking and obesity, and ahead of exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Most consumers in the United States, however, remain unaware of the link between alcohol use and cancer.

Past editions of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans may have contributed to the confusion by touting studies that purport to demonstrate cardiovascular and other health benefits from moderate alcohol consumption. Many of those studies, however, have not withstood scrutiny. By contrast, the scientific evidence linking alcohol consumption to cancer is well-established, and growing. Researchers have documented that as little as one drink per day contributes to a significant increase in the risk of developing cancer of the breast, oral cavity, pharynx, and esophagus. The letter explains that by giving consumers an up-to-date, accurate assessment of the science on alcohol consumption and its impact on health, the next edition of the dietary guidelines will greatly benefit public health.