Some women in the U.S. and U.K. are choosing to skip dinner and drink alcohol instead in hopes of losing weight, but the strategy is flawed because of the high caloric content of alcohol, the Telegraph reported March 19.
In a practice dubbed "drunkorexia," women may drink a glass or two of wine rather than eating a meal in a pattern that seems to combine two dangerous behaviors: binge drinking and eating disorders.
"They get fully hooked, it is an extremely noxious thing," said Janet Treasure, head of the eating-disorders unit at the Institute of Psychiatry in London. "It is more common with bulimia than anorexia but you get the combination of empty calories with no nutritional value and the risky behavior that goes with being drunk."
"You are more likely to be binge drinking," added Susan Price of the British Dietetic Association. "What you should do is eat a healthy balanced diet and choose low calorie mixers and non-alcohol low calorie soft drinks."
Diets that focus on limiting daily food intake may unintentionally encourage the problem, but experts note that alcohol has more calories on a gram-for-gram basis than carbohydrates or protein. A 250 ml glass of wine, a standard large pour in pubs, contains more calories than a light lunch, for example. Some beers contain 250 calories per pint.
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