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The more you drink, the more you eat, study shows

Drinking more than three large glasses of wine can push people over a tipping point, meaning they consume about 6,300 extra calories in the following 24 hours, a report has said.

The extra calories could lead to gaining 900g a week the survey of 2,042 people suggested.

About half (51 per cent) of those who drank alcohol said crossing the threshold had made them binge on fast food. But experts warned the study showed trends and not “hard science”.

Slimming World, which commissioned the research from YouGov, said 50 per cent of the people who said drinking impacted their food choices had also cancelled physical activities the day after drinking more than 9.3 units, equivalent to slightly less than four bottles of beer.

They had opted for bed, TV and using social media to stave off the hangover – along with another extra 2,051 calories, on top of their usual diet, the next day.

Extra food

On the night, they had consumed about 2,829 calories extra in food and 1,476 extra calories in drink, the survey said.

And the following day, the drinkers ate on average 2,051 extra calories.

Dr Jacquie Lavin, head of nutrition and research at Slimming World, said alcohol loosened self-control. She said people who had consumed more alcohol tended to eat at a greater rate and for longer.

“Alcohol makes the food even more rewarding. It tastes good and feels even better than it would do normally,” said Dr Lavin.

Bridget Benelam, nutritionist at the British Nutrition Foundation, said: “The survey is very interesting. But it is a survey and not a scientific study.

“It is useful as well as the hard science, to be aware of what people are thinking in the real world, to get messages out there.”

She said the survey confirmed a link between alcohol and obesity.

Dr Florence Njenga, a general practitioner in the city, said that even though no scientific study had been done to show that drinking makes people eat more, anecdotal evidence tended to support this assertion. 

“Alcohol makes you lose your inhibitions. And you are more likely to eat more when you are in the company of others and there is food and drink before you. One way to reduce the chances of this happening is to space your drinks (a glass of water for every glass of alcohol consumed) so that you reduce your chances of getting drunk and thus losing self control.” 

Heart disease

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: “The report raises awareness of the high calorie content in alcoholic drinks.

“Excess calorie intake can lead to being overweight and obese which increases your risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers.”