White Wine May Carry Surprising Health Risk

Researchers see association with skin cancer
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2016 10:52 AM CST
White Wine May Carry Surprising Health Risk
A taster pours white wine in Pamplona, Spain, in 2013.   (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

If you're undecided about whether your next glass of wine should be red or white, a new study out of Brown University may provide the tipping point: It suggests that white wine raises the risk of skin cancer. While researchers have long known that alcohol in general can raise the risk of certain cancers, this is the first time melanoma has been on the list, reports CNN. To be clear, the relative risk associated with white wine is small, but researchers still found it to be statistically significant. What's more, the increased risk seemed to affect parts of the body you wouldn't typically associate with skin cancer, such as the trunk, which is generally covered in clothes. The reasons for all this is unclear, reports CBS News.

"For now, I would say that alcohol in general is related, and I would emphasize that white wine is particularly related," says study co-author Eunyoung Cho. She notes that white wine has high levels of acetaldehyde, a carcinogen that can damage DNA, and while red wine does as well, one theory is that its antioxidants might counterbalance the chemical. So should you give up your favorite white? Researchers aren't going that far. A science blogger at Forbes assesses the study, which examined data from more than 200,000 health professionals over 18 years, and concludes: "I'm still a bit skeptical, because we have no good explanation for why white wine–but not red wine, beer or other alcohol–would cause skin cancer. But still, when you reach for a glass of wine this holiday season, perhaps you should choose red instead of white." (Read more white wine stories.)

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