Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Binge Drinking, Not Necessarily Beer, Expands Waistlines, Study Finds
September 8, 2009

A study from Europe finds that the much-lamented "beer belly" isn't necessarily from drinking beer per se, but rather a consequence of binge drinking regardless of alcohol type.

WebMD reported Sept. 2 that a study of more than 28,000 middle-aged men and women found that those who were monthly binge drinkers (defined as consuming 80 grams of alcohol at a sitting, the equivalent of a six pack of beer) had average waistlines a half-inch bigger than those who drank the same amount of alcohol during the course of an entire week.

Beer drinkers weren't any more apt to sport a "beer belly" than consumers of other types of alcohol, according to researcher Martin Bobak of University College London and colleagues. Bingers had more body fat than non-bingers even if their overall weight was the same.

"Abdominal obesity is an important risk factor for diabetes and for cardiovascular disease," Bobak noted. "The finding that binge drinking is related to abdominal obesity is therefore important for our understanding of the link between heavy drinking and these diseases."

The findings were reported at the recent annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology.

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