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ENGLEMED HEALTH NEWS

Binge drinking linked to poor diet

Wednesday August 17th, 2011

Binge drinking is associated with eating a poorer diet, according to Spanish doctors.

Dr Jose Lorenzo Valencia-Martin of the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid and colleagues surveyed 12,037 men and women between 2000 and 2005.

They defined binge drinking as 80 grams of alcohol for men and 60 grams for women during one drinking session. Heavy drinking was above 40 grams of alcohol per day for men and 24 grams for women.

Dr Valencia-Martin said: "Excessive drinkers, either with or without binge drinking, showed a poor adherence to dietary recommendations. Although drinking at mealtimes has traditionally been considered a safe or even a healthy behaviour, our results point to some unintended consequences that the general population should be aware of."

Specifically, he found that not all types of alcoholic beverages were equal with regard to their dietary effects. "Our results suggest that a preference for spirits is associated with a poorer diet," he explained.

Co-author Dr Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez added: "I believe the key finding of this study is the suggestion of a harmful effect of binge drinking on healthy eating habits. Binge drinking prevalence was found to be relatively high - greater than ten per cent.

"This is very bad news. Alcohol misuse has become a priority public-health problem in Spain, especially because of rising rates of binge drinking and especially because of the abandonment of the traditional Mediterranean pattern of moderate alcohol drinking, in little amounts, generally red wine during meals."

Recently, drinking patterns have altered and now include high consumption of spirits at weekends, Dr Martinez-Gonzalez added.

Results are published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Valencia-Martin, J. L. et al. Heavy drinkers have poor dietary habits. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, August 15 2011.

The Lancet August 16 2011

Tags: Diet & Food | Drug and Alcohol Abuse | Europe

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