How much is too much alcohol?

Monday 13 May, 2019

Reduce your risk of seven cancers

Drinking alcohol causes cancer – a sobering fact.  Fear not, we’ve got some tips to help you cut back consumption without ditching your social life.

Our education campaign Drink Less, Live More shows the devastating link between alcohol and cancer, and aims to help Australians make more informed decisions about what they drink.

The video, which aired earlier this year, shows how alcohol damages healthy cells as it passes through the body.

Alcohol is a Group 1 carcinogen – the highest classification available – and is linked to more than 3,200 cancer cases every year in Australia.

Still, many Australians aren’t aware of the link. In fact, less than 19% of Australians are aware of the link between alcohol and breast cancer, and only 23% are aware of the link between alcohol and mouth cancer.

It is a known cause of mouth, throat, oesophagus, bowel, liver and breast cancer (post-menopause), however the average Australian consumes 12.0L of pure alcohol a year ( Australian Bureau of Statistics), that’s the equivalent of combining:

  • 270 stubbies
  • 45 bottles of wine
  • 20 bottles of cider
  • 4 bottles of spirits
  • and 35 premixed drinks

So how much is too much?

The National Health and Medical Research Council recommends no more than two standard drinks a day.

Cancer Council’s Drink Less, Live More campaign provides helpful information to reduce the risk of cancer.

The news about alcohol consumption is daunting for many.

Don’t worry, we’ve got some tips to help you adjust your drinking habits.

Cutting back your consumption

Alcohol is deeply ingrained in our culture; it has become a part of our celebratory and social events, and for some has become a mid-week ritual.

However, cutting back your alcohol intake can have many benefits including saving money and higher energy levels, and it doesn’t have to mean giving up your social life.

Here’s some tips to help you change your social habits and cut your risk of seven cancers.

Be clear about your goal

Have a clear reason for wanting to cut alcohol from your life, so that you can explain it to those around you – such as when you’re asked why you don’t want to go to the pub.

Be aware of triggers that have you reaching for a drink, for example, a stressful day at work.

Stock up on healthy substitutes in your fridge or pantry to reach for instead, and remind yourself of your goal in these moments.

Join a local sports team

Much like going for a walk with a friend, joining a sports team together means you can save time by combining your catch up with some physical activity.

There are different sport types and leagues to suit all levels, and if you’re looking to make some new friends, this is a great way to do so.

Invite friends to your house

If you invite friends around to your place, you can ensure you’re in control of what’s being served.

Try putting together some mocktails with a tasty, healthy meal – your friends will thank you for being a good influence.

We’ve got some great recipe ideas for you on the LiveLighter website.

Invite friends to your house.

Avoiding heading to the bar when catching up with friends can reduce your risk of seven cancers.

Catch up at a café

If you’d prefer to go out when meeting friends, and keep your exercise regime to yourself, try meeting them at a café.

There are plenty of drink options to choose from which don’t contain alcohol, and you’ll have somewhere away from home to sit and chat.

Suggest going for a walk

Get on the front foot with your friends and suggest taking advantage of Victoria’s beautiful national parks and walking tracks, instead of hitting the pub.

You can sell them on this idea by reminding them that they won’t have a hangover the next morning, plus getting some fresh air and gentle exercise is a great way to inspire conversation.

Challenge yourself

Many Australians have busy lifestyles, filled with unhealthy temptations, so committing to cutting back on alcohol can be difficult.

But there’s a way to give yourself a little more motivation to stay focussed on your goal.

Dry July is a fantastic way to cut back on alcohol, raise money to help those impacted by cancer, and at the same time hold yourself accountable to the challenge – by getting family and friends involved.

What is Dry July?

During the Dry July challenge, participants give up alcohol for the entire month of July, while also fundraising to improve the lives of those affected by cancer.

Funds raised go to Cancer Council Victoria and other partners.

So, the money you raise will contribute to life-saving cancer research, world-renowned prevention programs and vital support services – you can make a real difference!