Risk of Metabolic Syndrome Reduced by Moderate Drinking

Metabolic Syndrome

The risk of metabolic syndrome (MS) is reduced by moderate alcohol drinking. This fact is important for good health and long life.

MS is a cluster of conditions that increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

There are four such conditions.

    • Excess body fat around the waist.
    • High blood pressure.
    • High blood sugar.
    • Abnormal cholesterol levels.

Any one of these conditions increases the risk of MS. If more than one occurs, the risk increases. Yet only one of these conditions is visible. That’s excess fat around the waist. But that alone is serious enough to have blood and blood pressure tests. The tests can tell if the other conditions exist.

Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

• Age. Increasing age increases the risk.
• Race. Hispanics and Asians have greater risk.
• Obesity. The risk increases with obesity. Especially among those whose body is apple shaped rather than pear shaped.
• Diabetes or a family history of type 2 diabetes.
• Other diseases. Heart disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), or polycystic ovary syndrome. These increase the chances of having MS.

Research repeatedly shows that moderate alcohol drinking reduces the risk of MS.

Risk of Metabolic Syndrome



We can’t safely generalize from one or two studies. And results vary somewhat from study to study.

Meta-analysis is a method to combine data from multiple studies. This can strengthen confidence in their findings. In turn, this helps us draw good conclusions.

risk of metabolic syndromeResearchers examined the link between alcohol consumption and MS. To do so, they conducted a meta-analysis of seven studies. The studies had a total of 22,000 people.

The analysis found that drinking alcohol in moderation greatly reduced MS.

The positive effects of moderate alcohol existed among men who had up to a little over three drinks per day. They existed among women who had up to one and one-half drinks each day.1

Other researchers conducted another meta-analysis. They used six prospective studies. The studies had 28,862 people.

The researchers compared drinkers with non-drinkers. Light drinkers had a reduced incidence of MS. Heavy drinkers had an increased incidence of the condition.2

Research Studies


Investigators made a study in rural Nantong, China. It had a total of 20,502  persons. They were aged 18-74. The scientists collected data on socio-economic status, diet, exercise, drinking, and smoking.

The syndrome was found in 21.1% of the people. It was much lower among drinkers than abstainers. Drinkers also had higher “good” cholesterol (HDL) levels than abstainers.3

Yet another study finds that drinking is associated with lower risk of getting MS among both men and women.

Hispanics in U.S.

reduces metabolic syndromeResearchers looked at drinking and MS among Hispanics in the U.S. They studied 15,905 people aged 18-74.

The researchers found that low and moderate alcohol drinking was linked with lower rates of MS.4


Research shows that drinking alcohol in moderation reduces the risk of MS.



MS = metabolic syndrome

Byrne, D., and Wild, S. The MS.

Isaacs, S., and Vagnini, F. Overcoming MS.

Levine, T., and Levine, A. MS and Heart Disease.


1 Alkerwi A, et al. Alcohol and of metabolic syndrome. Ather, 204, 624–35.

2 Sun, K., et al. Alcohol and risk of metabolic syndrome. Clin Nutr, 33(4), 596–602.

3 Xiao, J., et al. Alcohol and components of metabolic syndrome. Nutr Metab, 12, Art no 5.

4 Vidot, D., et al. Alcohol and metabolic syndrome among Hispanics. Metab Syndr Relat Disord.