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Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Mar;75(3):593-9.

Moderate alcohol consumption lowers risk factors for cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women fed a controlled diet.

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US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA.



Moderate alcohol consumption (1-2 drinks/d) may decrease cardiovascular disease risk in postmenopausal women by improving lipid profiles.


We measured the effect of moderate alcohol consumption on lipids and lipoproteins in postmenopausal women.


Postmenopausal women (n = 51) consumed 0 (control), 15 (1 drink), and 30 (2 drinks) g alcohol (ethanol)/d for 8 wk each as part of a controlled diet in a randomized crossover design. The control diet provided approximately 15%, 53%, and 32% of energy from protein, carbohydrate, and fat, respectively. The energy provided from alcohol in the 15- and 30-g alcohol diets was replaced with energy from carbohydrate.


Compared with concentrations after the control diet, plasma LDL cholesterol decreased from 3.45 to 3.34 mmol/L (P = 0.04) and triacylglycerol from 1.43 to 1.34 mmol/L (P = 0.05) after 15 g alcohol/d. There were no additional significant decreases in either lipid after an increase in alcohol intake from 15 to 30 g/d. Compared with concentrations after the control diet, plasma HDL cholesterol increased nonsignificantly from 1.40 to 1.43 mmol/L after 15 g alcohol/d but increased to 1.48 mmol/L after 30 g alcohol/d (P = 0.02). Apolipoprotein A-I increased significantly and apolipoprotein B decreased significantly after 30 g alcohol/d relative to the concentration after the control diet.


Consumption of 15-30 g alcohol/d by postmenopausal women apparently decreases cardiovascular disease risk by improving lipid profiles. Plasma LDL-cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations improve after 15 g alcohol/d; plasma HDL cholesterol improves only after 30 g alcohol/d.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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