So the big difference between moderate drinkers and tee-totalers? Less than 3 pounds on average. I know. The headlines made it sound so much better. I actually saw one headline that said that women who drink lose weight – talk about headline hype (and gross inaccuracy!).
A really important thing to understand is this study was an epidemiological study. In practical terms, that means it cannot show cause and effect – only associations. The study results do not show that alcohol causes less weight gain. All we can say is that the women in this study who drank moderately did not gain as much weight as the women who drank little to nothing. We can’t say why or if the alcohol had anything to do with it directly.
One thing we can say is that, despite our best efforts, many of us middle-aged women are in for some weight gain as we get older. The women in this study started at healthy weights and were all in their late 30’s to early 40’s at the beginning of the study and in their 50’s by the end. After 13 years, weight went up on average. The good news is that if you are a moderate drinker, it may be related to less weight gain. I’ll drink (moderately) to that!