HealthDay News — Heavy alcohol intake is associated with increased measures of obesity and type 2 diabetes, according to a study published online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Tianyuan Lu, PhD, from the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, and colleagues examined the dose-dependent effect of alcohol consumption on obesity and type 2 diabetes among 408,540 participants of European ancestry in the UK Biobank. Mendelian randomization (MR) analyses were conducted in the overall population and in subgroups stratified by alcohol intake frequency.

The researchers found that a one-drink-per-week increase in genetically predicted alcohol intake frequency was associated with a 0.36 kg increase in fat mass, a 1.08-fold increase in the odds of obesity, and a 1.10-fold increase in the odds of type 2 diabetes among individuals having more than 14 drinks a week. Stronger associations were seen in women than men. Among individuals having seven or fewer drinks per week, there was no evidence found to support the association between genetically increased alcohol intake frequency and improved health outcomes, with MR estimates largely overlapping the null. The results were robust to multiple sensitivity analyses assessing the validity of MR assumptions.

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“Some research has indicated that moderate drinkers may be less likely to develop obesity or diabetes compared to nondrinkers and heavy drinkers,” Lu said in a statement. “However, our study shows that even light-to-moderate alcohol consumption (no more than one standard drink per day) does not protect against obesity and type 2 diabetes in the general population.”

Several authors disclosed ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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