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Alcohol may blunt weight gain in women

Tue., March 9, 2010

Women who drink moderate amounts of alcohol don’t gain as much weight in midlife as those who abstain, according to a study released Monday. However, the authors as well as alcohol abuse experts were quick to say that drinking should not be heralded as a new diet nor a path to better health.

The study, to be published today in the Archives of Internal Medicine, is the first to find that alcohol may curb weight gain in women.

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston examined data from 19,220 women enrolled in the long-running Women’s Health Study.

Researchers found that compared with women who abstained entirely, women who drank 15 to 30 grams a day – the equivalent of a drink or two – were 30 percent less likely to be overweight or obese at the end of the study.

Women who consumed five to 14 grams a day – roughly one-half to one drink – were 14 percent less likely.

It isn’t clear what accounts for the association. Women appear to burn more calories after drinking than men, which might provide a biological reason for the finding, the authors said.

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