Not all types of alcohol are equally harmful to the body

(ORDO NEWS) — Drinking beer and liquor has been associated with increased levels of visceral fat, a harmful type of fat that has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and other health complications, while drinking wine has no such association with levels of this harmful fat and may even protect against it, depending on the type of wine consumed.

What’s more, we found that drinking red wine was associated with lower levels of visceral fat. Here are some of the key findings from a new study that my colleagues and I recently published in the journal Obesity Science & Practice.

While white wine consumption did not affect visceral fat levels, our study found that moderate white wine consumption may provide older adults with a unique health benefit: denser bones.

In our study, we found higher bone mineral density in older people who drank white wine in moderation. However, we did not find the same association between beer or red wine consumption and bone mineral density.

Our study relied on a large-scale longitudinal database called the UK Biobank. We surveyed 1,869 white adults aged 40 to 79 who reported demographic, alcohol, dietary and lifestyle factors using a touch screen questionnaire.

We then collected height, weight, and blood samples from each participant and obtained body composition information using a direct measurement of body composition, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.

We then used a statistical program to examine the relationship between types of alcoholic beverages and body composition.

Why is it important

Aging is often accompanied by an increase in problematic fat, which can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as a decrease in bone mineral density. This has important health implications, given that nearly 75% of US adults are considered overweight or obese.

Higher body fat levels have been consistently associated with an increased risk of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and an increased risk of death.

It is worth noting that the annual medical costs associated with the treatment of diseases associated with obesity amount to more than 260.6 billion US dollars.

Given these trends, it is vital for researchers like us to look into all the potential factors contributing to weight gain in order to determine how to combat this problem.

Alcohol has long been considered one of the possible factors contributing to the obesity epidemic. However, the public often hears conflicting information about the potential risks and benefits of alcohol. Therefore, we hoped to help unravel some of these factors through our study.

What is still unknown

There are many biological and environmental factors that contribute to being overweight or obese. Alcohol use may be one factor, although there are other studies that have not found a clear link between weight gain and alcohol use.

One reason for the inconsistencies in the literature may be due to the fact that most previous studies have traditionally treated alcohol as a whole rather than separately assessing the effects of beer, cider, red wine, white wine, champagne, and spirits. However, even with this approach, studies provide mixed results.

For example, one study found that drinking more beer increased the waist-to-hip ratio, and another study found that healthy adults did not experience significant weight gain after a month of moderate beer consumption.

As a result, we set ourselves the goal of finding out the unique risks and benefits associated with each type of alcohol. Our next step will be to study how diet – including alcohol consumption – can affect brain disease and cognition in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.


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