No alcohol more weight gain

  • 8 Mar 2010
  • Reading time 2 mins
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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 Archives of Internal Medicine.

This survey of over 19,000 non-obese women followed up over 13 years finds that those who drink 15 grams of alcohol a day, which is the equivalent to a glass of wine, shot of a spirit or pint of beer, compared to those who drank none, were almost 30% less likely to become overweight or obese. The most positive association was found with red wine, followed by white. A beneficial effect was also apparent at 30 grams a day, but no longer apparent at 40 grams a day. This finding is broadly consistent with our recent 100% Health Survey of over 55,000 people in which we find mild positive associations in reducing risk of being in poor health among those having one drink a day, although no increased likelihood of being in optimum health. Benefits of light drinking have also been reported in relation to cardiovascular disease risk and Alzheimers. From a glycemic load point of view I'd be cautious about the pint of beer since this represents 20 GLs - the ideal daily amount for maximum weight loss being 45GLs and 60 GLs for maintenance. On my Low GL Diet I allow 5 GLs a day for drinks or desserts, which is the equivalent of half a pint of beer every other day or a low-carb lager every day (or a glass of wine). This amount of alcohol is also consistent with maintaining a good homocysteine level, while larger intakes raise it. A low homocysteine level also predicts less risk for heart disease and Alzheimers. Exactly why alcohol has these effects isn't clear. Various potential mechanism for benefit, as well as clear explanation of the downsides are given in my Special Report entitled The Truth About Alcohol.