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Heavy Drinkers at Risk for Suboptimal Weight Loss

Obesity; ePub 2018 Nov 13; Chao, Wadden, et al

Heavy alcohol drinkers are at risk for suboptimal long‐term weight loss, according to a recent study. Therefore, decreasing alcohol consumption may improve weight management among individuals with diabetes. Participants (n=4,901) were from the Action for Health in Diabetes (Look AHEAD) study, a randomized controlled trial that compared an intensive lifestyle intervention (ILI) with a diabetes support and education (DSE) control. Mixed‐effects models were used to estimate the effect of the ILI on alcohol consumption and the influence of alcohol consumption on weight loss at year 4. Researchers found:

  • ILI and DSE participants did not differ in changes in alcohol consumption.
  • Alcohol intake was not associated with weight loss at year 1 of the ILI.
  • ILI participants who abstained from alcohol lost 5.1% ± 0.3% of initial weight at year 4 compared with a significantly smaller 2.4% ± 1.3% for consistent heavy drinkers.
  • ILI participants who abstained from alcohol consumption over the 4 years lost 1.6% ± 0.5% more weight relative to individuals who drank alcohol at any time during the intervention.
  • DSE participants did not differ in weight loss by alcohol consumption.

Chao AM, Wadden TA, Tronieri JS, Berkowitz RI. Alcohol intake and weight loss during intensive lifestyle intervention for adults with overweight or obesity and diabetes. [Published online ahead of print November 13, 2018]. Obesity. doi:10.1002/oby.22316.