Drinking just 1 beer or wine daily could mean devastating health consequences

As little as two drinks after work can be putting you at risk for major health concerns, according to a new study.

Whether it’s the traditional happy hour that is no more or the current COVID-19 post-work Zoom drinks gathering with colleagues, alcohol, and work have been a relationship since the beginning of time. Past studies have shown the relationship between alcohol and work and the role it takes in creating team camaraderie in the 9-to-5. As many as one in three works said they think drinks after work are good for team bonding, according to a survey by alcohol.org.

But like anything, there are side effects. The average American works spend more than $3,000 per year on happy hour, with the average drinking session with colleagues lasting nearly two hours.

Happy hour can also affect sleep and work. As workers look to blow off steam and just enjoy themselves after work, it’s not uncommon to have more than one drink at happy hour. But that, in the long run, could increase the risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome by more than 30% in some people, according to new research.

A study presented earlier this month at the European and International Congress examined the alcohol intake of nearly 27 million adults from South Korea, finding that even as little as half an alcoholic drink per day, which amounts to 7 grams of alcohol, can increase your risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome in both men and women. And as you continue to drink more, the risk rises, researchers said.

“Our results suggest that the risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome increases in proportion to alcohol consumption when male and female adults drink more than half a standard drink per day,” the authors said in a press release.

Researchers came up with their conclusion after analyzing health data and alcohol consumption over more than 26 million people between 2015 and 2016. While taking into account such factors like age, exercise, smoking, and income, researchers said they found a massive link between alcohol consumption and obesity, in addition to alcohol intake and metabolic syndrome.

For those unaware of metabolic syndrome, it’s a plethora of conditions like high blood pressure, overweight/obesity, abnormal blood sugar, and more. It can also put you at a higher risk of heart disease and even heart attacks and stroke if left untreated.

Here’s a rundown of what the consequences were for drinkers:

  • Men who drank up to one drink per day increased their risk to develop obesity or metabolic syndrome by 10%. When men consumed two drinks daily, it increased to 25%, according to the study. If alcohol consumption surpassed two drinks, it rose the chance of developing obesity to 34% and metabolic syndrome to 42%.
  • Women who guzzled more than two drinks daily increased their risk of developing obesity by 22% and metabolic syndrome by 18%.

It’s important to note that this study is observational and the cause remains unknown. Since it was only conducted in South Korea, it is also limited, according to the study.