Which alcohol makes you fatter?

Due to their high sugar content, alcohols are known to contribute to weight gain. But so far, high alcohol consumption has been associated with a lower and higher body mass index (BMI) as well as an increase and decrease in body fat. Alcohol consumption has also been shown to promote fat retention by reducing lipid oxidation and stimulating appetite and, on the contrary, can prevent caloric absorption and increase energy expenditure when it takes place at the same time. than meals, thus promoting weight loss. These inconsistencies led researchers at Iowa State University to re-explore this link between alcohol and body composition.

Beer will make you fatter than wine

Each type of alcohol has its own nutritional profiles and percentages of alcohol by volume. Thus, to better assess the influence of alcohol on body composition, it is necessary to take into account the consumption habits of different types of alcohol (beer, liquor and wine) and not consider alcohol as a whole.

Depending on the preferences of individuals, the long-term effects are different. Increased consumption of beer and spirits has already been correlated, for example, with a higher waist-to-hip ratio, while wine has not shown any influence on this parameter or has contributed to its decrease. Researchers point out in passing that a distinction must also be made between different wines, knowing that red wine has a higher polyphenol content than white wine (as natural antioxidants, polyphenols have beneficial effects on health).

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To conduct their study, the researchers selected 1,869 participants (aged 40 to 80, 59% of whom were men) involved in the longitudinal study of the UK Biobank, a large-scale biomedical database containing genetic and health information. millions of British citizens. Between 2007 and 2010, participants self-reported demographic, alcohol / diet, and lifestyle factors (physical activity, smoking, etc.) using a touch screen questionnaire. The alcoholic beverages included in the questionnaire were: beer and cider, red wine, white wine and champagne and liqueurs.

Anthropometric data (height, mass, waist circumference, etc.) and serum biomarkers (to assess cholesterol levels, detect inflammation, examine vascular integrity, and insulin resistance) have also been collected. Body composition was obtained by double-energy X-ray absorptiometry. The researchers specifically examined visceral fat mass, subcutaneous fat mass, lean muscle mass, and bone mineral density.

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White wine associated with stronger bones

Reports from study participants on alcohol consumption were recorded as average weekly consumption. Subgroups were formed according to the alcohol each individual consumed most frequently; 61% of participants showed a clear preference for one type of alcohol: men preferred beer (or had no preference), while women preferred wine. Adults with low education and lower socioeconomic status tend to prefer beer, cider, and liquor. In the overall sample, participants consumed an average of 9.8 (± 7.6) alcoholic beverages per week, the researchers in the study said.

The results show that the consumption of beer and liquor is related to high levels of visceral fat. On the other hand, drinking more red wine was associated with less visceral fat, which is explained by a reduction in inflammation and an increase in high-density lipoproteins (“good” cholesterol). Consumption of white wine, on the other hand, did not affect visceral fat levels; however, it was associated with higher bone density, which may be of interest to the elderly.

>> Read also: Binge drinking among young people: “drinking too much alcohol at full speed destroys memory”

It should be noted that in France there are 16,000 deaths each year from cancer and 9,900 deaths from cardiovascular diseases linked to alcohol consumption. Public Health France also reports that 26% of 65-75 year olds consume alcohol daily. Weekly alcohol consumption between the ages of 18 and 30 is 32.5% in mainland France and ranges from 23.2% to 43.5% depending on the region.

According to the World Health Organization, almost 40% of adults are overweight worldwide (47% in France!) And 13% are obese. ” Given these trends, it is vital that researchers like us examine all possible contributors to weight gain to determine how to combat the problem. says Brittany Larsen, a neuroscientist at Iowa State University and lead author of the study. Many biological and environmental factors contribute to overweight or obesity, and alcohol has long been considered one of these factors. This study has qualified this statement. Researchers now plan to examine how diet, including alcohol consumption, could influence brain and cognitive impairment in older people with mild cognitive impairment.

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