Just half a glass of wine or a bottle of beer a day is bad for you, says study

We’ve long been told that it’s okay to drink alcohol, as long as we do so in moderation.

But new research warns that even a small amount of booze can have a negative impact on our health.

Just half a glass of wine or one small bottle of beer a day can lead to metabolic syndrome – a combination of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure – says a new study presented at the virtual European and International Congress on Obesity.

The researchers suggest that there is no safe level of drinking alcohol.

The study tracked two years of data from more than 14 million men and 12 million women in South Korea.

They found that men who downed an average of a half a glass of wine or a quarter pint of beer daily, on average, were 10% more likely to be obese and have metabolic syndrome.

Go up to one to two glasses of wine or a pint of beer and the risk is upped – those who drank this amount daily on average were 22% more likely to be obese and 25% more likely to have metabolic syndrome.

Go up again, and the rates rise to 34% increased likelihood of obesity and 42% increased likelihood of metabolic syndrome.

This was compared to those who never drank.

Interestingly, the same sort of correlation applies to women, but the occasional glass of wine was found to have a protective effect.

For women, half a glass of wine a day raised the risk of obesity by 9% – but reduced the odds of metabolic syndrome by three percent – compared to non-drinkers.

Women who supped on average more than two glasses a day were 22% and 18% to develop obesity and metabolic syndrome, respectively.

Other factors were taken into account including participants’ age, exercise levels, smoking history and income.

Lead author Dr Hye Jung Shin, of the National Medical Centre in Seoul, South Korea, said: ‘Even light alcohol intake is linked to metabolic syndrome.

‘Consuming more than half a standard alcoholic drink a day is associated with an increased risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome in both men and women – and the risk rises in proportion with alcohol intake.

‘There was a significant correlation between alcohol consumption and obesity after adjusting for age, exercise, smoking and income in this population – as well as between alcohol consumption and metabolic syndrome.

‘Both men and women who consumed a higher quantity of alcohol had higher odds for obesity. The same results are observed for metabolic syndrome.

‘Our results suggest the risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome increases in proportion to alcohol consumption when male and female adults drink more than half a standard drink per day.’

Average alcohol units in different types of booze:

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