Normal-weight women who drink a light to moderate amount of alcohol appear to gain less weight and have a lower risk of becoming overweight and obese than non-drinkers, according to a report in the March 8 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
More than half of American adults drink alcoholic beverages, according to background information in the article. Alcohol contains about 7 calories per gram (with approximately 28 grams per ounce) and alcohol drinking may possibly lead to weight gain through an imbalance of energy consumed and energy burned. However, research has not consistently provided evidence that consuming alcohol is a risk factor for obesity.
“An inverse association between alcohol intake and risk of becoming overweight or obese was noted for all fourtypes 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,” the authors write.
The authors caution that, given potential medical and psychosocial problems related to drinking alcohol, its beneficial and adverse effects for each individual must be considered before making any recommendation about its use. “Further investigations are warranted to elucidate the role of alcohol intake and alcohol metabolism inenergy balance and to identify behavioral, physiological and genetic factors that may modify the alcohol effects,” they conclude.
Arch Intern Med. 2010;170:453-461.