This 8 week study by Apolzan et al. investigated cardiometabolic effects of moderate alcohol consumption in a small group of women that were dieting for weight loss.
Women were randomly assigned to a control group (CTL) that abstained from drinking for 8 weeks, or a group that consumed ~3 legal drinks each day (EtOH).
Both groups were placed on an energy-restricted diet to lose weight (~30% fewer calories than predicted energy needs).
Only 10 women completed the study, 7 in the EtOH group and 3 in the CTL group.
Both groups lost a similar amount of weight (~6kg or ~12lbs) after 8 weeks.
However, the group that abstained from alcohol displayed a significant decrease in mean arterial pressure after 8 weeks, but the group that consumed ~3 drinks per day did not.
Based on blood testing performed before and after the 8 weeks, total cholesterol decreased by 27 mg/dL in the CTL group, but only 6 mg/dL in the EtOH group (p=0.11).
Additionally, blood uric acid levels tended to decrease in CTL but increase in EtOH (p=0.07).
Increased blood uric acid levels can be associated with decreased excretion of uric acid by the kidneys.
Chronically high uric acid levels (hyperuricemia) can lead to gout, a variety of kidney issues, and several other unfavorable health outcomes.
Considering these findings, this study suggests that drinking 3 alcoholic drinks per day for 8 weeks resulted in less favorable cardiometabolic changes—despite subjects losing a similar amount of weight.
However, there are multiple limitations to this study that warrant careful interpretation (e.g., subjects were classified as obese, small sample, methods).
There’s other evidence worth considering for a more informed perspective on alcohol, health, and body composition outcomes. I’ll be covering more on alcohol in upcoming parts of this series, so stay tuned in for that. I’m also reviewing this study and other evidence in this month’s Weightology Research Review if you’d like to learn more. Here’s the link to access the review and receive our monthly publication.