Having a few glasses of wine or beer is not usually associated with having the munchies, but research has shown that alcohol consumption is tied to food consumption. Yes, over drinking one day leads to over eating the next day or two.
A new survey showed that those who drink the three glasses of wine on evening leads people to consume more calories in the next 24 hours than they would normally. In addition, the drinkers typically bypassed physical activity the next day in favor of watching television, sleeping in or spending time texting and tweeting.
Drinking three large glasses of wine, almost 4 pints of beer or other 9.3 units of alcohol pushed people to devour a whopping 6,300 extra calories (almost three times the recommended amount for some adults) within the next 24 hours, according to a report issued by Slimming World, a United Kingdom-based weight loss organization, that is based on research conducted by YouGov. This added amount of eating was on top of the almost 1,500 extra calories consumed in alcohol the night before. As a result, the study showed that over drinking can lead to gaining 900 grams (almost two pounds) of body weight.
British researchers report that at some point many drinkers toss resolve out the window. This leads them to binge eat fattening or salty foods to their diet. In fact, about half of the 2,042 people who participated in the survey said they did not just binge on food, they binged on pizza, chips and kebabs.
There is not enough guidance available for the public to discern the impact of alcohol on their weight, according to Dr. Jacquie Lavin, Slimming World’s head of nutrition and research. Noting that alcohol makes people eat unhealthy foods and lowers their inhibitions, Lavin added that this leads to make the wrong choices without realizing the quantity of calories being consumed. “Alcohol makes the food even more rewarding. It tastes good and feels even better than it would do normally,” Lavin pointed out.
While some are criticizing the survey as unscientific, the data echoes results from scientific studies that previously linked over drinking and over eating. A study published in Science Direct in 2008 looked at eating patterns for college students after drinking episodes. Those who drank more often were more likely to report increases in their appetites after over drinking, and almost half of all the students admitted to over eating and making unhealthy food choices after drinking.
Additionally, a 10-year-old study showed that the same chemical in the brain, galanin, that is triggered by excessive drinking and eating. The researchers found that drinking alcohol increased the amount of galanin in the brain, which also appeared to increase cravings for fatty foods. Conversely, foods high in fat were shown to trigger a similar feedback loop involving galanin.
A nutritionist at the British Nutrition Foundation, Bridget Benelam, acknowledge that the survey and research conducted are useful in making people aware of the link between alcohol and obesity.
The survey data also shows that greater awareness needs to be raised about the ways excessive alcohol impacts weight, according to Luciana Berger, British shadow health minister, who noted that the health problems associated with being overweight are costing the country’s National Health Service over £5 billion annually.
By Dyanne Weiss