Replacing a daily beer with a glass of water can reduce the risk of obesity by 20 per cent, researchers say.
Spanish scientists also found that swapping one sugary drink for water each day lowers the risk of obesity, a leading cause of type 2 diabetes, by 15 per cent.
The research was led by the University of Navarra and presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Portugal.
They analysed data from 15,765 adults who were not obese and tracked the impact of their changing drinking habits for an average of 8.5 years using mathematical modelling.
Overall, 873 people developed obesity during the study, with the fattening effects of beer shown to have a significant impact on weight gain.
“Alcohol is incredibly calorific, second only to fat,” said Paul Christianse, a researcher on addiction and obesity from Liverpool University who wasn’t involved in the study. “And beer is one of the most calorific ways you can consume alcohol.”
Last year Britons consumed the equivalent of 12.3 litres of pure alcohol, on average, while the global average was 6.4 litres. Beer also contains a fairly high amount of carbohydrate and sugar.
There are roughly 142 calories in a 330ml bottle of beer, and those who replaced beer with water lost an average of 0.3kg over four years.
This led to researchers noting that substituting beer for water decreased the risk of obesity by 16 per cent, a statistic that remained significant even after accounting for exercise and family history of obesity.
The researchers also tracked the intake of drinks including wine, milk, spirits, diet drinks, coffee and fresh fruit juices.
Replacing a sugary drink with water each day lowered the risk of obesity by 15 per cent. No difference in obesity risk was observed when replacing the other beverages with water.

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