Alcohol Intake May Be Key to Long-term Weight Loss for People with Diabetes

This is Penn Nursing’s Ariana M. Chao, Ph.D., CRNP, Assistant Professor of Nursing in the Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences.

A new study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) suggests that alcohol consumption may attenuate long-term weight loss in adults with Type 2 diabetes.

In the study, close to 5,000 people who were overweight and had diabetes were followed for four years. One group participated in Intensive Lifestyle Intervention (ILI) and the other in a control group consisting of diabetes support and education. Data showed that participants in the ILI group who abstained from alcohol consumption over the four-year period lost more weight than those who drank any amount during the intervention. Results from the study also showed that heavy drinkers in the ILI group were less likely to have clinically significant weight loss over the four years.

“This study indicates that while alcohol consumption is not associated with short‐term weight loss during a lifestyle intervention, it is associated with worse long‐term weight loss in participants with overweight or obesity and Type 2 diabetes,” says lead investigator Ariana M. Chao, PhD, CRNP, Assistant Professor of Nursing in the Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences. “Patients with Type 2 diabetes who are trying to lose weight should be encouraged to limit alcohol consumption.”

The study “Alcohol Intake and Weight Loss During Intensive Lifestyle Intervention for Adults with Overweight or Obesity and Diabetes,” has been published in the journal Obesity. Co-authors of the article include Thomas A. Wadden, PhD, Jena Shaw Tronieri, PhD, and Robert I. Berkowitz, MD, all of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

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