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26-07-2011 | Cardiometabolic | Article

BMI influences the association between red wine consumption and triglycerides


Free abstract

MedWire News: Short-term red wine consumption increases plasma triglyceride levels, say researchers, who add that this is particularly the case in individuals with a higher body mass index (BMI).

Indeed, the research group found that triglyceride levels of overweight, but nonobese individuals (BMI 26.30-30.44 kg/m2), increased by more than 30% after 2 weeks of moderate red wine consumption.

The team advises, therefore, that individuals with an increased BMI should try to lose weight if they wish to "avoid the adverse effect of increasing triglyceride levels with wine consumption."

Writing in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology, the authors explain that moderate alcohol consumption, particularly of red wine, has previously been associated with several effects that may be protective against cardiovascular diseases. However, the effect of moderate alcohol consumption on triglyceride levels is "more controversial."

To investigate further, Fernando Henpin Yue Cesana and colleagues, from the University of São Paulo Medical School in Brazil, provided 250 ml of red wine (12.0 or 12.2% alc/vol) per day to 42 men and women (mean age 46 years) and instructed them to drink it during meal times for 14 consecutive days. Plasma lipids and glucose levels were measured at baseline, before the participants began the alcohol regimen, and at the end of the study period. Both samples were collected after 12 hours of fasting and alcohol abstention.

The researchers found that 2 weeks of red wine consumption increased plasma triglyceride levels by 15 mg/dl (0.17 mmol/l), glucose levels by 4 mg/dl, and the triglyceride/high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol ratio from 2.16 to 2.50.

The authors suggest that these variations might be "partially dependent" on baseline BMI. This was confirmed by multivariate linear regression analysis, which revealed that BMI was the only independent predictor of plasma triglyceride levels and the triglyceride/HDL cholesterol ratio.

Furthermore, when the participants were divided into three categories according to their BMI, the mean percentage variation in triglycerides was 33% in the highest BMI tertile (26.30-30.44 kg/m2) and 17% in the intermediate tertile (24.46-26.29 kg/m2), whereas in the lowest tertile (19.60-24.45 kg/m2) there was no significant change in triglyceride levels.

Similarly, the variation in the triglyceride/HDL cholesterol ratio was -5%, 18%, and 31% in the lowest, intermediate, and highest BMI tertiles, respectively, and was only significant for those in the highest BMI group.

"The relevance of our findings should be put into perspective when considering that even slightly increased triglyceride levels are associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular events," conclude the authors.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Nikki Withers