Alcohol is worse for women than men — here’s why

Evidence links alcohol consumption to breast cancer and other health risks that primarily affect women.

Health journalism can feel like a revolving door when it comes to alcohol. One day, wine kills, and the next, it cures. When you look more closely at the research, the picture is not so clear. But one thing is certain: Alcohol affects women more than men. Even when a woman weighs the same as a man, the same amount of alcohol will be more concentrated in her bloodstream because women generally have less body water than men.

On the whole, women drink less than men. In our recent survey, we asked 1,500 Canadians how often they drank. Seventeen percent of women say they’re teetotalers — meaning they don’t drink at all — compared with only 12 percent of men; and six percent of women say they drink daily, while the number for men is double (12 percent).

There is some compelling evidence about some of the harms of drinking. Here’s a roundup of some recent research about the possible perils of alcohol for women.

This post is part of The Canada Project, a representative survey of Canadians from across the country. You can find out more right here.Canada Project