Based on the fact that energy content in 1 gram of alcohol is 29 kJ or 7.1 kcal, alcohol consumption can lead to weight gain. The present review was conducted to analyze the effects of alcohol consumption on body weight. A search of the Medline database for the period 1984 to March 2010 was conducted to identify cross-sectional, prospective cohort studies and intervention trials investigating the relationship between alcohol consumption and the risk of weight gain. Thirty-one publications were selected on the basis of relevance and quality of design and methods. The findings from large cross-sectional studies as well as from well-powered, prospective, cohort studies with long periods of follow-up were contradictory. Findings from short-term experimental trials also did not show a clear trend. The overall results do not conclusively confirm a positive association between alcohol consumption and weight gain; however, positive findings between alcohol intake and weight gain have been reported, mainly from studies with data on higher levels of drinking. It is, therefore, possible that heavy drinkers may experience such an effect more commonly than light drinkers. Moreover, light-to-moderate alcohol intake, especially wine intake, may be more likely to protect against weight gain, whereas consumption of spirits has been positively associated with weight gain. Further research should be directed towards assessing the specific roles of different types of alcoholic beverages. Studies should also take the effect of consumption patterns into account. In addition, a potential effect modifier that has not been evaluated before but might be important to consider is the subjects' previous tendency to gain weight




Published in General Health

OBJECTIVE: To examine sex differences in alcohol consumption according to age groups, and to assess gender and age effects on several aspects of alcohol consumption patterns.

METHOD: Based on a Brazilian nationwide representative sample (n = 3,007), we analysed the differences in drinking patterns between genders. We also assessed the effects of gender, age, and gender by age interaction for alcohol consumption dimensions (frequent drinking, usual intake, binge drinking, and frequent binge drinking), using logistic and negative binomial regression models.

RESULTS: Gender, age, and gender by age interaction had significant effects on the predictive models for all studied drinking patterns, except for the 'usual' dosage. The effect of gender on drinking patterns varies with age. While gender has a greater effect in older age groups, the difference between men and women decreased in the younger age groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Gender convergence regarding alcohol use is a trend that might be influenced by environmental factors and should be addressed in prevention and treatment programs, as well as in public health policies.

Published in Drinking Patterns
Objective: To examine the association between alcohol consumption patterns and adherence to major food consumption guidelines in adults in Spain. Methods: Telephone survey of 12,037 persons, representative of the population age 18 to 64 years in the region of Madrid, conducted from 2000 to 2005. The threshold between average moderate and excessive drinking was 40 g alcohol/d in men and 24 g/d in women. Binge drinking was defined as intake of >/=80 g alcohol in men and >/=60 g in women during 1 drinking session in the last 30 days. Food consumption was measured with a 24-hour recall. Statistical analyses were performed using logistic regression and adjusted for the main confounders. Results: In total, 4.3% of study participants were excessive drinkers and 10.3% binge drinkers; 6.5% preferred spirits and 24.2% drank with meals. In comparison with never drinking, average moderate drinking with binge drinking was associated with excessive meat consumption (>1 serving/d). Excessive alcohol consumption without binge drinking was associated with insufficient intake of milk products (<2 servings/d) and excessive consumption of meat, fish, and eggs (>2 servings/d). Excessive drinkers with binge drinking more often did not meet the guidelines on consumption of fruit and vegetables (<3 servings/d), milk products, and meat. Excessive drinkers, with and without binge drinking, were more likely to skip a meal, especially breakfast. Consumption mainly of spirits was associated with insufficient fruit and vegetable consumption, and with skipping a meal. Finally, drinking at mealtimes was associated with poor adherence to most of the food consumption guidelines. No dietary differences between men and women were found in relation to alcohol consumption. Conclusions: Average excessive alcohol consumption, binge drinking, preference for spirits, and drinking alcohol at mealtimes are associated with poor adherence to major food consumption guidelines
Published in Drinking Patterns

Introduction and Aims: Drinking guidelines have rarely provided recommendations for different age groups despite evidence of significant age effects on alcohol consumption and related risks. This study attempted to quantify the degree of risk associated with lower levels of consumption for people under 25 years of age, with the broader purpose of informing the development of Canadian low-risk drinking guidelines.

Design and Methods: A random community-based sample of 540 youth aged 16-23 (54.4% female) completed an interview concerning alcohol consumption patterns and a broad range of acute health and social harms. Logistic regression analyses were designed to test whether there were discernible thresholds of risk as a function of both gender and age.

Results: A significant proportion of young people consumed in excess of adult drinking limits recommended by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to minimise risk of alcohol-related harm. Compared with abstainers, rates of reported harm increased linearly with increasing frequency and quantity levels. However, problems were most strongly associated with consumption in excess of two drinks per occasion and a frequency of more than once a week. No independent effects of age or gender were identified.

Discussion and Conclusions: The CAMH guidelines for adult drinkers do not adequately address acute risks for young people. More specific guideline recommendations for young people could be considered with a more prominent focus on drinking quantity (one to two drinks per occasion), and a recommended frequency of consumption (once a week).

Published in Drinking Patterns

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