Drinking Alcohol Reduces Weight Gain (Discover More!)

I. Alcohol Reduces Weight Gain.

Alcohol reduces weight gain among women. (Sorry, guys.) Women who have one or two alcoholic drinks daily gain less weight during mid-life. That’s in comparison with alcohol abstainers. Medical researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston published their findings in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The Study

alcohol reduces weight Researcher studied if alcohol reduces weight gain among women. Doctors have widely reported that it does. To do so, they studied over 19,000 women aged 38 years or older. The womens’ weight was initially in the normal range. The study recorded facts about the diets and lifestyles of the women for nearly13 years.

The doctors adjusted for age, baseline weight, smoking, non-alcohol energy intake, and physical activity level. They also adjusted for other dietary and lifestyle factors. Women who had one or two drinks daily were at least 30% less likely to gain weight. That is, over the period of the study.

These findings held among subgroups of women based on age, smoking, level of physical activity, and initial weight.

There was an inverse relationship between amount of alcohol consumed and weight. That is, the more alcohol women drank, the lower was their weight.

Findings are Consistent

These research findings are consistent with those of other studies.

The authors note that women had a substantial increase in energy expenditure after drinking. This suggests that women might experience a net loss of calories after drinking. This may account for the fact that drinkers were much less likely to gain weight. But researchers don’t know for sure why drinking alcohol reduces weight gain among women.

Alcohol Promotes Health

Moderate drinking is also linked with better health and longer life. That’s in comparison with either abstaining from alcohol or abusing it. This applies equally to wine, spirits (liquor), and beer.

Standard Drinks

A standard drink refers to any of these.

    • alcohol reduces weight12-ounce bottle or can of regular beer.
    • Five-ounce glass of dinner wine.
    • Shot (one and one-half ounces) of liquor or spirits.

Standard drinks have the same amount of pure alcohol. It’s 0.06 of an ounce. They’re all the same to a breath tester.

Content of Beverages

The following list shows the calories, carbs and fat found in standard servings of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

BeverageCaloriesCarbs (grams)Fat (grams)
Beer (regular)14613.130.000
Beer (lite)994.600.000
All Distilled Spirits (rum, vodka, whiskey, gin, tequila, bourbon, etc.)970.000.000
Wine (red)1253.50.000
Wine (white)1203.50.000
Apple juice (unsweetened)11728.960.273
Apricot juice14036.110.226
Carbonated cola15539.770.000
Grape juice (unsweetened)15537.840.202
Grapefruit juice (unsweetened)9422.130.247
Milk (2% fat)12211.414.807
Orange juice (unsweetened)11226.840.149
Prune juice18244.670.077
Tangerine juice (unsweetened)12529.880.098
Tomato juice4110.300.122
Source: U.S. Dept Ag.


Clearly, most alcohol beverages contain fewer calories than most non-alcohol ones. Also, alcohol contains no fat and is very low in carbohydrates. And it appears that the “effective” calories in alcohol are much lower than the numbers listed.

The bottom line is simple. Women who have one or two drinks of alcohol gain much less weight than do non-drinkers.

II. Resources: Alcohol Reduces Weight Gain

Web Pages

Popular Books

Medical Articles

    • Arif, A.A., and Rohrer, J.E. Patterns of alcohol drinking and its association with obesity. BMC Pub Health, 2005, 5(5), 126.
    • Berkey, C.S., et al. Weight gain in older adolescent females: the internet, sleep, coffee, and alcohol. J Ped, 2008, 153(5), 639.
    • Colditz, G., et al. Alcohol intake in relation to diet and obesity. Am J Clin Nutr, 1991, 54, 49-55.
    • Gruchow, H.W., et al. Alcohol consumption, nutrient intake and relative body weight. Am J Clin Nutr, 1985, 42, 289-295.
    • Hellerstedt, W. L., et al. The association between alcohol intake and adiposity. Am J Epi, 1990, 132(4), 594-611.
    • Istvan, J., et al. The relationship between patterns of alcohol consumption and body weight. Int J Epi, 1995, 24(3), 543-546.
    • Jequier, E. Alcohol intake and body weight: a paradox. Am J Clin Nutr, 1999, 69, 173-174.
    • Liu, S., et al. A prospective study of alcohol intake and change in body weight among US adults. Am J Clin Nutr, 1994, 140(10), 912-920.
    • Mannisto, E., et al. Reported alcohol intake, diet and body mass index in male smokers. Eur J Clin Nutr, 1996, 50, 239-245.
    • Mannisto, S., et al. Alcohol beverage drinking, diet and body mass index in a cross-national survey, Eur J Clin Nutr, 1997, 151, 326-332.
    • Prentice, A. Alcohol and obesity. Int J Obes, 1995, 19(Suppl. 5), S44-S50.
    • Smith, R. Alcohol Consumption Does not Promote Weight Gain in Female Mice. Thesis. U Texas at Austin, 2007.
    • Sung, K., et al. Relationship among alcohol, body weight, and cardiovascular risk factors in 27,030 Korean men. Diab Care, 2007, 30(10), 2690-2694.
    • Wang, L, et al. Alcohol consumption, weight gain, and risk of becoming overweight in middle-aged and older women. Arch Int Med, 2010, 170(5), 453-461.
    • Wanna, S., et al. Alcohol intake and 8-year weight gain in women. Obes Res 2004, 12, 1386-1396.


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