Alcohol consumption and body weight: A systematic review

Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Navarra, Spain.
Nutrition Reviews (Impact Factor: 6.08). 08/2011; 69(8):419-31. DOI: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00403.x
Source: PubMed


Based on the fact that energy content in 1 gram of alcohol is 29 kJ or 7.1 kcal, alcohol consumption can lead to weight gain. The present review was conducted to analyze the effects of alcohol consumption on body weight. A search of the Medline database for the period 1984 to March 2010 was conducted to identify cross-sectional, prospective cohort studies and intervention trials investigating the relationship between alcohol consumption and the risk of weight gain. Thirty-one publications were selected on the basis of relevance and quality of design and methods. The findings from large cross-sectional studies as well as from well-powered, prospective, cohort studies with long periods of follow-up were contradictory. Findings from short-term experimental trials also did not show a clear trend. The overall results do not conclusively confirm a positive association between alcohol consumption and weight gain; however, positive findings between alcohol intake and weight gain have been reported, mainly from studies with data on higher levels of drinking. It is, therefore, possible that heavy drinkers may experience such an effect more commonly than light drinkers. Moreover, light-to-moderate alcohol intake, especially wine intake, may be more likely to protect against weight gain, whereas consumption of spirits has been positively associated with weight gain. Further research should be directed towards assessing the specific roles of different types of alcoholic beverages. Studies should also take the effect of consumption patterns into account. In addition, a potential effect modifier that has not been evaluated before but might be important to consider is the subjects' previous tendency to gain weight.

  • Source
    • "In many populations, alcohol is associated with several factors that may influence breast cancer mortality. Female alcohol consumers are more likely to have higher socioeconomic status (Cederfjäll et al. 2004), lower body mass index (BMI) (Sayon-Orea et al. 2011;Li et al. 2010); and higher rates of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) use (Li et al. 2010), antidepressant use (Graham and Massak 2007), and complementary alternative medicine (CAM) use (Hietala et al. 2011). Moreover, increasing alcohol consumption is associated with smoking (Hamajima et al. 2002). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Purpose To investigate the association between pre- and postoperative alcohol consumption and risk for early breast cancer events, since the association between alcohol consumption and prognosis in breast cancer patients is unclear. Methods Alcohol consumption was recorded for 934 primary breast cancer patients who underwent breast cancer surgery in Lund, Sweden, between 2002 and 2011 and were followed until December 31st 2012. Clinical data were obtained from medical records and population registries. Pre- and postoperative alcohol consumption was analyzed in relation to risk for early events. Results Median follow-up time was 3.03 years and 100 breast cancer events, 65 distant metastases, and 76 deaths occurred. Compared to no consumption, any preoperative alcohol consumption was weakly associated with lower risk for early events, adjusted HR 0.69 (0.45-1.04), distant metastases, 0.60 (0.36-1.00) and death, 0.62 (0.38-1.01). In the 572 patients without axillary lymph node involvement, any alcohol consumption was not associated with risk for early events. However, in the 360 patients with axillary lymph node involvement, preoperative alcohol consumption was associated with lower risk for early events (adjusted HR 0.43 0.24-0.77; Pinteraction = 0.01). Conclusion Pre- and postoperative alcohol consumption was weakly associated with lower risk for early breast cancer events. The data does not support recommending that all breast cancer patients abstain from low to moderate alcohol consumption.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · SpringerPlus
  • Source
    • "Moreover, there are confounding factors that may be associated with both higher body weight and heavier drinking, such as smoking (Williamson et al. 1987). Though the causal relationship between body mass and alcohol consumption is not clear (French et al. 2010; Sayon-Orea et al. 2011), both are associated with mortality, so it is important to adjust for body mass in our study (see Berrington de Gonzalez et al. 2010). Alcohol consumption is also associated with general health status. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The literature has shown that people who do not drink alcohol are at greater risk for death than light to moderate drinkers, yet the reasons for this remain largely unexplained. We examine whether variation in people’s reasons for nondrinking explains the increased mortality. Our data come from the 1988–2006 National Health Interview Survey Linked Mortality File (N = 41,076 individuals age 21 and above, of whom 10,421 died over the follow-up period). The results indicate that nondrinkers include several different groups that have unique mortality risks. Among abstainers and light drinkers the risk of mortality is the same as light drinkers for a subgroup who report that they do not drink because of their family upbringing, and moral/religious reasons. In contrast, the risk of mortality is higher than light drinkers for former drinkers who cite health problems or who report problematic drinking behaviors. Our findings address a notable gap in the literature and may inform social policies to reduce or prevent alcohol abuse, increase health, and lengthen life.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Population Research and Policy Review
  • Source
    • "Physical traits can also predict alcohol use. Body mass index (BMI) may be related to alcohol use through more than one route: in several European countries and the USA, low BMI is related to frequent consumption of small quantities of alcohol and to the preference of wine over beer or strong liquor, whereas high BMI is related to infrequently drinking large quantities of alcohol and preferring strong liquor [35,36]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background In most Western countries, alcohol consumption continues to increase, specifically among women and older adults. Insight into these trends may aid intervention strategies. Here we present data on alcohol consumption by age and sex as well as associations between alcohol use and demographic lifestyle/traits. The data are from a large (N>16,000) population-based Dutch sample, ascertained based on the presence of twins in the family. Methods A set of 16 indicators of normative and problematic alcohol use was assessed in participants of the Netherlands Twin Register between 2009–2012 (ages 18–97; 6,052 men; 10,535 women). Alcohol consumption and demographic/lifestyle traits, including educational attainment, work-related/financial stress, urbanization, religiousness, smoking/cannabis initiation, and BMI were described by age and sex. Associations were examined by regressing aspects of alcohol use on age, sex, their interaction, and demographic/lifestyle variables. Results Age, sex, and initiation of cigarette and cannabis use were the most important predictors of alcohol use. Frequency of alcohol use was lowest between 18–25 years, with 3.2% of men and .6% of women drinking 6–7 times/week, and highest above age 65 years, with 30.6-32.7% of men and 20.2-22.0% of women drinking 6–7 times/week. Women consumed the lowest quantities of alcohol between 25–45 years, with a 5.7-5.9% prevalence of excessive drinking (>14 glasses/week), and the largest quantities between 55–65 years (15.5% excessive drinkers). Age at alcohol initiation, onset of regular drinking, and first alcohol intoxication were lowest between ages 18–25 years and highest above age 65 years. Among older participants, men initiated alcohol use and regular drinking earlier, and had lower age at first intoxication than women, but among young adults, no sex differences were observed. Conclusions Alcohol consumption was high in the elderly Dutch population, especially among women. Alcohol initiation, onset of regular drinking, and first alcohol intoxication occur at increasingly younger ages, and the previous gap between men and women in age at alcohol initiation, onset of regular drinking, and first alcohol intoxication has closed almost entirely. Heavy alcohol use was most strongly predicted by older age, sex (male), and initiation of smoking and cannabis use.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · BMC Public Health
Show more