Even light drinking isn’t good enough to prevent Type 2 diabetes and obesity

WASHINGTON — Could a daily beer or glass of wine help stave off obesity? According to a new study, don’t get your hopes up. Despite long-standing theories speculating that moderate alcohol consumption may benefit health, a team working with the Endocrine Society finds people who limit themselves to just one or two drinks daily still don’t have better protection against Type 2 diabetes or obesity.

Studies have linked alcohol to a wide variety of health issues, ranging from diabetes and obesity to liver conditions and heart disease. While it’s long established that excessive alcohol consumption causes a great deal of health problems, whether or not more modest alcohol consumption can offer any beneficial health effects has remained up for debate. For instance, many argue that red wine – when enjoyed in moderation – can be good for heart health.

“Some research has indicated that moderate drinkers may be less likely to develop obesity or diabetes compared to non-drinkers and heavy drinkers. However, our study shows that even light-to-moderate alcohol consumption (no more than one standard drink per day) does not protect against obesity and Type 2 diabetes in the general population,” says Tianyuan Lu, Ph.D., from McGill University, in a media release. “We confirmed that heavy drinking could lead to increased measures of obesity (body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, fat mass, etc.) as well as increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.”

Bored man alone watching TV, drinking beer on couch
(© Paolese – stock.adobe.com)

Health issues linked to drinking more common among women

Study authors analyzed self-reported alcohol intake data collected among a total of 408,540 people participating in the U.K. Biobank project. This led to the finding that people who had more than 14 drinks per week tended to have both higher fat mass and a higher risk of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

Notably, these associations were stronger among women. Additionally, none of the data supported an association between moderate drinking and improved health outcomes in people drinking less than or equal to seven alcoholic beverages weekly.

“We hope our research helps people understand the risks associated with drinking alcohol and that it informs future public health guidelines and recommendations related to alcohol use,” Dr. Lu concludes. “We want our work to encourage the general population to choose alternative healthier behaviors over drinking.”

The study is published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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John Anderer

Born blue in the face, John has been writing professionally for over a decade and covering the latest scientific research for StudyFinds since 2019. His work has been featured by Business Insider, Eat This Not That!, MSN, Ladders, and Yahoo!

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