Occasional drinking may help women keep weight down

March 9, 2010 7:34:22 AM PST
Whether you say cheers! bottoms up! or sante! to toast, it appears a little alcohol might be a factor in weight control.

A report in the March 8th issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, says normal-weight 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.

The finding comes from a research team led by Dr. Lu Wang at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

The scientists studied nearlt 10-thousand women, ages 39 and up with a Body Mass Index, or BMI, considered normal.

Before the experiment began, all were asked about their alcohol consumption.

After 13 years of follow-up, the women did gain weight, on the average. In fact, a little over 41 per cent of them became overweight or obese.

However, those who did not drink alcohol put on the most weight, with weight gains decreasing as the alcohol intake increased.

Women who drank 15 to 30 grams of alcohol per day were the least likely to become overweight or obese.

A 12-ounce light beer contains about 11 grams of alcohol, while 5 ounces of red

wine contains 15 to 16 grams and a 1.5 ounce shot of 80-proof whiskey contains about 14 grams of alcohol.

The authors caution that, given potential medical and psychosocial problems related to drinking alcohol, drinking alcohol for the sake of weight control isn't recommended.

And the researchers say a lot more needs to be known about the relationship between alcohol and obesity in women. They concede that women who drink moderately may have a more healthy lifestyle overall, exercising moderation with their eating too.

For that reason, any recommendation to take a daily drink is a ways off.