Latest scientific news 28 July 2014

Light consumption of alcoholic beverages might moderate the negative metabolic effects of smoking

A large cohort study showed that light consumption of alcoholic beverages (1 drink/day) was associated with a favourable effect on the individual Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) components. Light drinking might therefore moderate the negative effect of smoking on MetS.

The Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) is present in approximately quarter of the adult European population and is mainly the consequence of overweight and obesity. The syndrome is made up of several components such as a high plasma glucose level, high triglycerides, low HDL levels, high blood pressure and enlarged waist circumference. The development of MetS is promoted by smoking and lessened by moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages. In a large prospective study, Dutch researchers determined the combined effects of smoking and alcoholic beverages on MetS and its individual components in 64,046 participants, aged 18-80 years from the LifeLines Cohort study. Within three body mass index (BMI) classes (BMI<25, normal weight; BMI 25-30, overweight; BMI≥30 kg/m2, obese) and smoking subgroups (non-smoker, former smoker, <20 and ≥20 g tobacco/day), up to 2 drinks/day were associated with a smaller waist circumference in overweight and obese individuals. A consumption of >2 drinks/day increased the blood pressure, with the strongest associations found for heavy smokers. The overall metabolic profile of wine drinkers was better than that of non-drinkers or drinkers of other alcoholic beverages.

Slagter SN, van Vliet-Ostaptchouk JV, Vonk JM, et al. Combined effects of smoking and alcohol on metabolic syndrome: the LifeLines cohort study. PLoS One. 2014 Apr 29;9(4):e96406

For more information about this article, read the scientific abstract here.