Research: Alcohol in moderation does not significantly affect body weight.  

Research - Boggle LettersResearch - Boggle Letters

Alcohol in moderation does not significantly increase weight.  

Glass of Beer
Glass of Beer

I have always been told that alcohol consumption is not conducive to weight loss and can significantly increase weight gain since it is empty calories.  I believe this is true if you fail to moderate your consumption.  The calories from alcohol like that of soda or juice can quickly add up.  It only makes sense, but recent research does not seem to agree with this belief.  

A 2017 study published in Obesity tried to tackle this question​[1]​.  The publication was entitled “Change in Alcohol Intake in Relation to Weight Change in a Cohort of US Men with 24 Years of Follow-Up”.  The focus of the study was to investigate the potential effects of alcohol on body weight prospectively.  The investigators examined the alcohol consumption and weight change in nearly 15,000 men over 4-year spans during a 24 year period.  They found that the weight per increase in drinks per day was associated with moderate weight gain over the 4-year periods.  The total change was about 0.23 pounds.  The largest weight gain was 0.61 pounds in regular beer, and the lowest was a loss of 0.38 pounds in those that drank light beer.  Although this change in weight was statistically significant, it was also very modest.  

The bottom line: Increased alcohol consumption was associated with only a minor reported weight gain.  I would still recommend avoiding it if you are trying to lose weight.  If this is a problem, consider moderation.  The greatest risk of weight gain was among men who increased consumption to levels well above moderation.


  1. Downer, Mary Kathryn, Monica L. Bertoia, Ken J. Mukamal, Eric B. Rimm, and Meir J. Stampfer. “Change in Alcohol Intake in Relation to Weight Change in a Cohort of US Men with 24 Years of Follow-Up.” Obesity, September 20, 2017. doi: 10.1002/oby.21979

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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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