The consumption of more than half of a standard alcoholic beverage per day is associated with an increased risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome in both men and women, and this risk increases in proportion to alcohol consumption. This conclusion was reached in a study involving almost 27 million adults (20 years of age and older) from South Korea. The work was presented at the European and International Congress on Obesity, writes MedicalXpress.
The study was carried out by Dr. He Jeong Shin from the Seoul National Medical Center (South Korea) and his colleagues. One standard alcoholic beverage in the work was defined as 14 g of alcohol per day, which is approximately equivalent to a small (118 ml) glass of wine or a 355 ml bottle of beer.
The study analyzed data on health and alcohol consumption by more than 14 million men and 12 million women between 2015 and 2016 in South Korea. Even after taking into account factors potentially affecting the outcome, including age, physical activity, smoking, and income, the analysis found a strong association between alcohol consumption and obesity, as well as between alcohol consumption and metabolic syndrome (a group of conditions involving elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, excess waist fat, and abnormal cholesterol levels).
Compared to non-drinkers, men who drank on average half to one standard drink per day (7.1-14 g of alcohol) were about 10% more likely to suffer from obesity and metabolic syndrome. The level of consumption of up to two drinks per day (14.1-24 g of alcohol) was associated with a 22% and 25% increase in probability, respectively. Men who drank more than two servings or 24 g of alcohol per day were the most at risk: they were 34% more likely to be obese and 42% more likely to have metabolic syndrome.
Similarly, women who drank more alcohol were more likely to suffer from obesity and metabolic syndrome.
The authors conclude: "The results show that the risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome increases in proportion to alcohol consumption, when adult men and women drink more than half a standard portion per day.
The study is observational in nature, so it cannot establish cause and effect.