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Alcohol and your health: Researchers look at the effects of daily drinking

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Seoul, South Korea — Drinking alcohol on a daily basis – even in small amounts – could be bad for your waistline and overall health, say researchers from the National Medical Center.

The researchers looked at alcohol consumption and health data for more than 26 million adults from 2015 and 2016 via the Korean National Health Insurance System. A standard alcoholic drink was defined as the equivalent of a 4-ounce glass of wine or a 12-ounce bottle of beer.

Compared with non-drinkers, men who drank an average of one-half to one standard drink a day were around 10% more likely to be obese and have metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that raise their chances for heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes. For women, the risk of obesity was 9% higher, but the risk of metabolic syndrome was reduced 3%. Meanwhile, men who consumed two drinks a day had a 22% and 25% increased risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome, respectively.

Men who had more than two drinks a day had a 34% higher risk of obesity and a 42% greater risk of metabolic syndrome, when compared when non-drinkers. For women, those percentages were 22 and 18, respectively.

The World Health Organization advises adults not to exceed two drinks a day.

“Our results suggest that 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,” the researchers said.

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