Page last updated: October 26, 2017
Correlates of alcohol consumption among Germans in the second half of life

A study prospectively investigated the potential effects of alcohol by subtype on reported long-term weight change. The researchers examined changes in alcohol intake (total, wine, light beer, regular beer, and liquor) and simultaneous changes in reported body weight within 4-year periods from 1986 to 2010 from US men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. The results were adjusted for age, changes in lifestyle and dietary covariates, and cardiovascular risk factors.

The study included observations of 44,603 four-year periods from 14,971 men. Total alcohol, total beer, regular beer, and liquor intakes, modelled as the increase in weight per increase in drinks per day, were each directly associated with moderate weight gain over the 4-year periods, in pounds: total alcohol: 0.23 (0.10 to 0.35); total beer: 0.29 (0.08 to 0.51); regular beer: 0.61 (0.22 to 1.00); and liquor: 0.28 (0.09 to 0.48). Results for wine and light beer were as follows: wine: 0.16 (-0.04 to 0.36) and light beer: -0.38 (-1.07 to 0.08). Results were strongest for men < 55 years old.

Increased alcohol consumption was associated with minor reported weight gain at levels unlikely to be clinically meaningful, the researchers conclude. Beverage-specific differences were not substantial enough to make dietary recommendations for weight loss or maintenance by beverage type. The greatest risk of weight gain was among men who increased consumption to levels well above moderation.

Source: Change in Alcohol Intake in Relation to Weight Change in a Cohort of US Men with 24 Years of Follow-Up. Downer MK, Bertoia ML, Mukamal KJ, Rimm EB, Stampfer MJ. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2017 Sep 20. doi: 10.1002/oby.21979.

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