Julie Gunlock

Christmas party season is upon us; a time to raise a glass and enjoy time with friends and family. Yet, this year, you might want to savor that mug of Christmas grog or rum-spiked eggnog a little more since regulators are adding alcohol to the naughty list.

Just last month, the Centers for Disease Control released figures showing Americans are moderate drinkers and that on any given day, about one-third of men and one-fifth of women consumed calories from alcohol. While men averaged 150 calories from alcohol each day (equivalent to one beer), women, on average, consumed only 50 calories per day from alcohol.

That’s good news, since moderate drinking has long been associated with heart health. Multiple studies have shown that people who have one drink a day reduce their likelihood of developing heart disease by 25 percent, and, according to a meta-study released last year in Canada, daily, moderate alcohol consumption increases the levels of so-called good cholesterol in the body.

Even our government recommends having a glass of wine with dinner. In 2011, the CDC published a study in the American Journal of Public Health that said moderate drinking was one of four behaviors that would help extend an individual's life.

Yet, a Harvard study recently cast doubt on the health benefits of moderate drinking with its finding that women who drank three to six glasses of wine per week increase their risk of breast cancer by 15 percent. The study generated dozens of alarming headlines in the mainstream media leaving many women confused about contradictory medical information involving alcohol. On the one hand, women are advised that moderate drinking is good for cardiovascular health. Yet, this latest study suggested heart-healthy moderate drinking increased chances of developing cancer.

Are women facing a Sophie’s choice? Heart disease or cancer?

Julie Gunlock

Julie Gunlock is director of the Culture of Alarmism project at the Independent Women’s Forum (www.iwf.org).