Contrary to what is believed up to now – that Sugar content in alcohol adds body weight; a recent research at Navarra University in Spain suggests that while heavy drinkers put on fat, moderate alcohol intake, especially of wine may ‘protect against rather than promote’ weight gain; whereas consumption of spirits has been positively associated with weight gain.
In other words what the study suggests is – Light-to-moderate alcohol intake, especially wine, helps a person remain slim.
The researchers say that the previous assumptions about a link between alcohol and obesity have been inaccurate.
According to them, although heavy drinkers are likely to put on weight, those who just enjoy an occasional drink do not. Taking their findings further, the researchers say that people who know the right way of consuming less fattening drinks such as wine may even lose weight as well as be at lower risk of developing diabetes.
The research further suggests that moderate drinkers are at 30 per cent lower risk of developing diabetes, and that even obese people should not abstain from alcohol for this reason. Moderate drinkers have also been found to be at between 16 per cent and 25 per cent lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which in turn makes them more likely to have a stroke or coronary artery disease, according to the research.
How the study was conducted?
In their research the researchers did analysis of 31 studies ‘linking alcohol consumption and obesity’ published between 1984 and 2010.
What is the finding?
The findings of the study, published in the journal Nutrition Reviews, states that “alcohol consumption can lead to weight gain” as 1 gram of alcohol has an energy content of 7.1 calories. But analysis of 31 studies published between 1984 and 2010 found they were “contradictory” and did not “conclusively confirm” a link between drinking and weight gain.
Out of the 31 studies analyzed, those that did find a link tended to involve studies of heavy drinking, so the Spanish researchers suggest: “It is possible that heavy drinkers may experience such an effect more commonly than light drinkers.”
The researchers say that more research should be carried out into the role of “different types of alcoholic beverages”.
Moderate intake of alcohol is seen to keep people fit (just an observation). One reason for “alcohol being commonly linked to weight gain” is a common assertion by individuals, especially women, that they avoid all alcohol consumption because they do not want to gain weight. And since data which surely links alcohol to weight gain is very limited, hence whatever perception prevails in society goes for a scientific fact.
Hence if the findings of the latest study are taken into account, then it may be that the frequent consumption of small amounts of alcohol is the optimal drinking pattern associated with a lower risk of obesity. This is like, too much tea or coffee is bad for health, but a much regulated intake imparts health benefits. Hence rather than straight away ‘linking alcohol and weight gain’, if data is collated on individuals who have shown good health, even by consuming alcohol for decades now , will usher more light on this area.
Observing real people known for disciplined alcohol intake for years is important here as it’s their health status, which will usher concrete data on the impact of prolonged alcohol intake on human health.