Please tell me beer’s a health food and not a cancer concern

This article first appeared in the Sunday Herald Sun


I FREAKING love beer and now I’m freaking the freak out.

Over the last couple of months, every time I see the word “beer” it seems to be right next to the word “cancer”.

This is because beer apparently causes cancer.

By “apparently” what I mean is the vast majority of science has been saying for years that it does; however I’m still clinging to the hope that the science is wrong and beer is instead healthier than a banana soy kale wheatgrass smoothie, because it certainly tastes better; but then so does dog poo.


I’m not going to dive too deeply into the stats and facts as they’re boring, but one quick one. The World Health Organisation has classified alcohol as a Group 1 carcinogen.

You know what’s also Group 1? Smoking.

Also in Group 1 are car exhaust and air pollution, meaning that while alcohol and cigarettes cause cancer, so does breathing.


Some Group 1s are clearly worse than others and as more research comes out, alcohol appears to be one of the worst.

By “appears” I mean “is” but I’m still living in denial, because that’s far easier and more fun than living without beer.


I’ll be honest: I’m drinking a beer right now. It’s the only way I’m able to cope with the knowledge that it could be killing me. Recently published research in the British Medical Journal has stated that just one drink a day can increase a woman’s chance of getting cancer.

Men are apparently fine if they have no more than two drinks a day, but two drinks is what I have while I’m contemplating whether I have a quiet drink, a proper drink, or a proper big drink.


Some alcohol companies are funding contradictory research which suggests there’s little to worry about, but that reminds me of the millions the tobacco companies spent on telling us smoking was an important part of a balanced diet.

Until they were finally forced to admit that smoking causes a touch of cancer, in the same way that eating a few doughnuts a day and doing zero exercise leads to being a touch single.


Then again, the older you get, the more likely you are to get cancer. So being alive also causes cancer. It won’t be long now until some annoying and brilliant scientist announces that fun also causes cancer, but since it’s previously been reported that alcohol, smoking and sugar may increase your risk of cancer, that’s definitely already been done.

This article first appeared in the Sunday Herald Sun

Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.

His second comedy memoir ‘Going Out of My Mined’ is available now.

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