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Moderate alcohol consumption linked to less weight gain

A study found that normal-weight women who consume light to moderate amounts of alcohol appear to gain less weight and have less risk for overweight and obesity than nondrinkers.

According to Lu Wang, MD, PhD, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and colleagues, although alcohol consumption is a source of energy intake that may contribute to body weight gain and development of obesity, previous studies of this relationship have been limited and marred with inconsistent results.

This study, which enrolled 19,220 American women (38.9 years or older), found that the amount of alcohol consumed at baseline was inversely related to weight gain during 12.9 years of follow-up. Overweight or obesity developed in 7,942 women (41.3 percent) and obesity in 732 (3.8 percent).

“Compared with nondrinkers, initially normal-weight women who consumed a light to moderate amount of alcohol gained less weight and had a lower risk of becoming overweight and/or obese during 12.9 years of follow-up,” the study authors write. “An inverse association between alcohol intake and risk of becoming overweight or obese was noted for all four types of alcoholic beverages red wine, white wine, beer, and liquor, with the strongest association found for red wine and a weak yet significant association for white wine after multivariate adjustment.”

“Our study results suggest that women who have normal body weight and consume a light to moderate amount of alcohol could maintain their drinking habits without gaining excessive weight,” the study authors conclude.

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