Health and Alcohol Intake (Men, Women, Wine)

A lon­git­ud­in­al study of almost 20,000 U.S. women is show­ing signs that mod­er­ate alco­hol con­sump­tion (“one or two alco­hol bever­ages a day”) can lower the risk for obesity and inhib­it weight gain:

Over the course of the study, 41 per­cent of the women became over­weight or obese. Although alco­hol is packed with cal­or­ies (about 150 in a six-ounce glass of wine), the non­drink­ers in the study actu­ally gained more weight over time: nine pounds, on aver­age, com­pared with an aver­age gain of about three pounds among reg­u­lar mod­er­ate drink­ers. The risk of becom­ing over­weight was almost 30 per­cent lower for women who con­sumed one or two alco­hol bever­ages a day, com­pared with non­drink­ers. […]

The link between con­sump­tion of red wine and less weight gain was par­tic­u­larly pro­nounced. […] Some stud­ies have sug­ges­ted that res­veratrol, a com­pound present in grapes and red wine, appears to inhib­it the devel­op­ment of fat cells and to have oth­er anti­obesity prop­er­ties.

The art­icle also notes that while mod­er­ate alco­hol con­sump­tion has been asso­ci­ated with “bet­ter heart health”, it has also been asso­ci­ated with an increase in breast can­cer risk.

None of this is good news for men:

Stud­ies sug­gest that drink­ing alco­hol has dif­fer­ent effects on eat­ing habits among men and women. Men typ­ic­ally add alco­hol to their daily cal­or­ic intake, where­as women are more likely to sub­sti­tute alco­hol for food. […]

In addi­tion, there may be dif­fer­ences in how men and women meta­bol­ize alco­hol. Meta­bol­ic stud­ies show that after men drink alco­hol, they exper­i­ence little if any meta­bol­ic change. But alco­hol appears to slightly speed up a woman’s meta­bol­ism.

As before: this is still cor­rel­at­ory, but inter­est­ing non­ethe­less.