If you have an alcoholic drink one to three times a week you are less likely to be or become obese than someone who never drinks at all. However, if you have more than four alcoholic drinks a day your chances of becoming obese go up by 46% when compared to a teetotaller (non-drinker).
You can read about this study in the journal BMC Public Health.
Results of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III in a subset of 8,236 non-smoker respondents were analysed by Ahmed Arif, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, USA, and James Rohrer, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA.
Those that completed the questionnaire answered questions about how much they drank (alcohol) as well as providing information about their Body Mass Index (BMI).
The researchers define an obese person as one whose BMI is 30 or more. 46% of the respondents drank at least one drink per month (classed are ?current drinkers’). A heavy drinker, said the researchers, is someone who has four or more alcoholic drinks each day (on average).
They found that ?current drinkers’ overall had a 0.73% lower probability of being obese than people who never drank alcohol at all. ?Current drinkers’ who consumed one or two alcoholic drinks per week regularly (but less than five per week) were a lot less likely to be obese than heavy drinkers or those that never drank at all.
Heavy drinkers, however, were 46% more likely to be obese than the non-drinkers.
The researchers stressed that this data does NOT advise non-drinkers to start drinking just for the sake of reducing body weight. However, they also added that promoting abstention to those who have one or two drinks a week for reasons of health goes against the evidence they have gathered in this study (teetotallers tend to be fatter than those who just have two drinks a week).
Patterns of Alcohol Drinking and its Association with Obesity:
Data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988-1994
Ahmed A Arif and James E Rohrer
BMC Public Health 2005, 5:126 (5 December 2005)
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