Light and moderate consumption of alcohol does not protect people from conditions including obesity and type 2 diabetes, according to a new study.

The research looked at whether modest alcohol consumption has beneficial health effects, an issue that still divides experts.

Researchers examined alcohol intake data from over 400,000 participants and found higher risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes in participants who had more than 14 drinks per week. This link was stronger in women than men.

Dr Tianyuan Lu, from McGill University in Québec, said: “Some research has indicated that moderate drinkers may be less likely to develop obesity or diabetes compared to non-drinkers and heavy drinkers.

“However, our study shows that even light-to-moderate alcohol consumption (no more than one standard drink per day) does not protect against obesity and type 2 diabetes in the general population.

“We confirmed that heavy drinking could lead to increased measures of obesity (body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, fat mass, etc.) as well as increased risk of type 2 diabetes.”

The findings did not indicate any link between moderate drinking and improved health in those who drink seven or less alcoholic drinks a week.

Dr Lu concluded: “We hope our research helps people understand the risks associated with drinking alcohol and that it informs future public health guidelines and recommendations related to alcohol use.

“We want our work to encourage the general population to choose alternative healthier behaviours over drinking.”

Read the full study in JCEM

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