Popular phrases such as “beer belly” and “rum pot” reinforce the urban legend that drinking alcohol promotes weight gain. A review of literature by Martin R. Yeomans from the University of Sussex in the U.K. concluded that the link between alcohol and obesity is far from clear. Alcohol contributes to increased caloric consumption, but people who drink moderately live longer, have fewer heart attacks and strokes, and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Moderate drinking improves metabolic health by lowering insulin resistance, which influences sexual performance, abdominal fat deposition, blood pressure, blood fats (i.e., LDL and HDL cholesterol) and inflammation. High alcohol consumption might be one reason for the greater longevity of people living in countries such as France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Alcohol, particularly binge drinking, might contribute to obesity, but the link may be due to personality rather than alcohol.
Source: Physiology & Behavior in press; published online