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Drinking Alcohol Leads to Unhealthy Eating

Alcohol drinking affects one’s food choices, and this is shown in the differences in the type of food and the amount of calories people consume on days when they drink alcohol compared to those days when they abstain. Rosalind Breslow, a nutritional epidemiologist at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that Americans tend to consume more calories and fat on days when they imbibe alcoholic drinks, showing that drinking influences their eating habits to change towards an unhealthy direction.

Breslow found in a previous study that drinking more alcohol leads to a poorer diet in general. Her current study compares the quality of people’s diets on days when they drank versus those days when they avoided the drink. She states that the new information could make people more aware of their diet on the days they take alcohol.

The study, which was recently published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, analyzed data from a large health and lifestyle survey in the US, which was conducted from 2003 to 2008. It involved more than 1,800 people who answered diet questionnaires.

On days when people drank, participants had an average of 2-3 alcoholic drinks, which were most commonly beer or wine. The investigators found that on non-alcohol days, men consumed an average of 2,400 calories, while and women ate 1,700 calories. However, when they drank, men consumed about 400 more calories daily and women about 300 more.

They also found that men and women ate about 9% more fat and drank less milk on days they took alcohol. Men ate more meat and white potatoes on these days, too.

Breslow advises people to be aware that alcoholic drinks increase calorie intake and to be mindful of how they eat when they drink. She also recommends that people must drink in moderation.


Grens, K. People eat more unhealthy foods on days they drink. Reuters Health.

Posted in: Alcohol, Alcohol Abuse, News Briefs

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