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  • Posted June 28, 2023

A Little Drinking Won't Help Prevent Obesity, Diabetes

Having a couple of drinks a day won't protect you from obesity or diabetes, a new study suggests.

Everybody knows that heavy drinking isn't good for your health, but whether moderate alcohol consumption is protective or harmful is still open for debate, researchers say.

"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," said lead researcher Tianyuan Lu, of McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

"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," Lu added in a news release from the Endocrine Society.

For the study, Lu's team collected data on alcohol use from nearly 409,000 men and women in the UK Biobank (a large-scale biomedical database and research resource). The researchers found that people who had more than 14 drinks per week had higher fat mass and a higher risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

The links were greater among women than men, the researchers noted. They found no association between moderate drinking and better health in people consuming up to seven drinks per week.

"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," Lu said. "We want our work to encourage the general population to choose alternative healthier behaviors over drinking."

The report was published June 27 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

More information

For more about drinking and your health, visit the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

SOURCE: Endocrine Society, news release, June 27, 2023

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