Alcohol consumption may play a role in the development of obesity but the relationship between alcohol and weight is still unclear. The aim of our study was to assess the cross-sectional association of intakes of total alcohol and of specific alcoholic beverages (wine, beer and spirits) with waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and body mass index (BMI) in a large sample of adults from all over France.
Participants were free-living healthy volunteers of the SU.VI.MAX study (an intervention study on the effects of antioxidant supplementation on chronic diseases).
For 1481 women aged 35–60 years and 1210 men aged 45–60 years, intakes of total alcohol and specific alcoholic beverages were assessed by six 24-hour dietary records. BMI and WHR were measured during a clinical examination the year after.
A J-shaped relationship was found between total alcohol consumption and WHR in both sexes and between total alcohol consumption and BMI in men only (P < 0.05). The same relationships were observed with wine (P < 0.05); men and women consuming less than 100 g day−1 had a lower BMI (men only) and WHR than non-drinkers or those consuming more. Spirits consumption was positively associated with BMI (linear regression coefficient β = 0.21, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.09–0.34 and β = 0.22, 95% CI: 0.06–0.39 for men and women, respectively) and WHR (β = 0.003, 95% CI: 0.001–0.005 and β = 0.003, 95%CI: 0.0002–0.006) in both sexes in a linear fashion. No relationship between beer consumption and BMI or WHR was found.
If confirmed in longitudinal studies, our results indicate that consumption of alcoholic beverages may be a risk factor for obesity.
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