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Increased Alcohol Intake, Weight Change Studied

Obesity; ePub 2017 Sep 20; Downer, Bertoia, et al

Increased alcohol intake is linked with some weight gain, but the levels do not appear to be clinically noteworthy, according to a study involving nearly 15,000 men. Participants were from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Investigators looked at how alcohol consumption changes impacted body weight at 4-year intervals (44,603 observations) over a 25-year period ending in 2010, adjusting for age, lifestyle and dietary covariate changes, and cardiovascular risk factors. Among the results:

  • People who increased their total alcohol, total beer, regular beer, and liquor intakes experienced moderate weight gain over 4 years.
  • Those who increased wine intake experienced lower levels of weight gain than all other types of alcohol except light beer.
  • Increased intake of light beer was shown to result in a small amount of weight loss.
  • Results were strongest for those aged <55 years.

The authors noted that the differences were not significant enough to impact current dietary guidelines.


Downer M, Bertoia M, Mukamal K, Rimm E, Stampfer M. Change in alcohol intake in relation to weight change in a cohort of US men with 24 years of follow-up. [Published online ahead of print September 20, 2017]. Obesity. doi:10.1002/oby.21979.

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