Alcohol Fuels Bad Food Choices

So that glass of red wine not only adds 128 calories, but it may inadvertently add hundreds more due to poor food choices. That’s right, that 6 ounces of fermented grape juice (or 1 ounce of hard alcohol or 12 ounces of beer) contributes to a change in your dietary habits, for the worse.

A joint study by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) , published April in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association,  found that increasing your alcoholic beverage consumption is associated with a decreased diet quality. Reviewing the data of 15,000 U.S. adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the CDC, the research group found that increased  consumption of alcohol, any kind of alcohol, resulted in poorer food choices, including increased calorie intake and decreases in fruit, grains, and milk.

“Heavy drinking and dietary factors have independently been associated with cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and other chronic health problems,” said NIAAA Acting Director Kenneth R. Warren, Ph.D. “This finding raises questions about whether the combination of alcohol misuse and poor diet might interact to further increase health risks.”

We’re not talking frat boys here, but grown adults imbibing and lowering their food standards. Inebriation can make people a bit lazy, grabbing for a bag of chips or thinking starches like French fries will help to offset the effects of alcohol. Skipping meals in favor of happy hour is contributing to growing waistlines and an increase in obesity and other health problems.

Everything in life should be done in moderation, whether it is food, liquor or exercise. Moderate drinking, as defined by U.S. Dietary Guidelines, is one drink per day for women, and no more than two drinks per day for men. Don’t add insult to injury by piling useless alcohol calories on top of unhealthy food choices.



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