Drinking alcohol can lead to poor food choices

By • Published: June 1st, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Care for a glass of wine with dinner? How about a beer or mixed drink? If so, you are one of the more than two billion people worldwide who drink alcohol.

Alcohol, when consumed in moderation, is believed to have a number of healthy benefits, such as preventing heart disease. But when it comes to indulging, there’s a catch: A new study published in the Journal of The American Dietetic Association warns the more alcohol you drink, the less nutritious the food you are likely to eat. Researchers found that people who drank more were less likely to eat fruit and would consume more calories from foods high in fat and added sugars.

The study analyzed alcohol consumption and Healthy Index Eating scores, an index created by the USDA to measure diet quality in relation to federal guidelines. In the study of more than fifteen thousand adults, researchers noted that when consumption of alcoholic beverages increased, Healthy Eating Index scores decreased, an indication of poor food choices.

Experts warn that heavy drinking and dietary factors have independently been associated with chronic health problems. The worry? That together they’re double trouble, and might interact to further increase health risks.

Current U-S Dietary Guidelines for moderate alcohol consumption are no more than one alcoholic beverage a day for women and no more than two for men. Experts say it is important for people to consume nutrient-rich foods like fruits and whole grains that provide vitamins, minerals and fibers.

Take care of all that, and then, if you still have room, you might want to toast to your good health.