Are you a drinkorexic? Rising number of women are swapping food calories for alcoholic ones, experts warn

  • Labels that detail the calories in bottles of alcoholic drinks are encouraging people with eating disorders to swap food for drink 
  • People obsessed with 'calorie counting' will often choose not to eat in order to drink alcohol, effectively 'swapping' their food calories for drink
  • Phenomenon mainly affects women, although also a small number of men 

Experts have warned that increasing numbers of women are cutting back on food to drink wine - a problem they have called ‘drinkorexia’.

Labels that detail the calories in bottles of alcoholic drinks are encouraging people with eating disorders to swap food for drink, psychologists say.

People who are obsessed with ‘calorie counting’ will often choose not to eat in order to drink alcohol, effectively ‘swapping’ their food calories for drink.

Concern: People who are obsessed with calorie counting will often choose not to eat in order to drink alcohol, effectively ‘swapping’ their food calories for drink, experts have warned 

Concern: People who are obsessed with calorie counting will often choose not to eat in order to drink alcohol, effectively ‘swapping’ their food calories for drink, experts have warned 

The disorder means that more people are drinking on an empty stomach, maximising the effects of the alcohol.

Adrienne Key, consultant psychiatrist at the Priory Hospital, said that advertising calorie content can be beneficial for most - it can be harmful for those with eating problems.

She said last night: ‘Displaying calorie content on alcoholic drinks has been counterproductive for a small but significant proportion of society.

‘When I started in the profession 20 years ago you would hardly hear of calorie swapping like this.

‘But now we come about it fairly regularly. People who have not eaten will say, “I’m saving myself for a glass of wine”.

Displaying calorie content on alcoholic drinks has been counterproductive for a small but significant proportion of society 
Adrienne Key, consultant psychiatrist at the Priory Hospital

‘People are more likely now to use this as a method to control dietary intake in a disordered way.’

A glass of white wine contains about 130 calories and a pint of beer 200.

Charity workers said the problem may also affect men, but women are usually more prepared to talk about it.

Susan Ringwood, from eating disorders charity Beat said that ‘drinkorexia’ is also likely to affect many people who have not been diagnosed with an eating disorder.

‘We do see these cases, particularly when people are binge drinking at the weekend,’ she told The Times.

‘It is not necessarily an eating disorder, but it is a disordered approach towards eating and people can easily find themselves trapped by it.

‘If you are trying to live off one or two hundred calories a day, people find it easier to consume small amount of alcohol and briefly feel better than eat food.’ 

Balancing act: ‘If you are trying to live off 100-200 calories a day, people find it easier to consume small amount of alcohol and briefly feel better than eat food,' one expert said

Balancing act: ‘If you are trying to live off 100-200 calories a day, people find it easier to consume small amount of alcohol and briefly feel better than eat food,' one expert said

 

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