Swapping a daily glass of wine for a slightly weaker alternative could be enough to lower the risk of some cancers, a charity suggests.
Studies suggest that people who drink wine with an alcohol content of 10% rather than 14% might benefit, says the World Cancer Research Fund. The charity called for more low-alcohol wines and beers to be available for sale.
An industry expert said UK consumers were asking for "lighter" wines. The calculation was based on figures in a 2007 report which looked at the evidence for a link between alcohol consumption and cancer. That report recommended that men should have no more than two drinks a day, and women no more than one. The figures used to reach that conclusion were detailed enough to reveal the likely extra risk posed by each extra 10 grams of alcohol - just over one unit - regularly consumed.
From this, scientists calculated that, in theory, a person drinking one large 250ml glass of wine a night would have a 7% lower risk of bowel cancer if they normally drank 10% strength wine rather than 14%. This is only a modest decrease of risk for an individual, and there is no clear evidence about how long someone would need to substitute weaker wine for their usual tipple in order to reap this benefit.
However, the charity said that for every 100 people who did it, one case of bowel cancer would be avoided. While the detailed studies only applied to bowel cancer, it said that there was no reason to believe that the risk of other cancers linked to alcohol, such as throat, oesophageal and breast, would not respond in a similar way.