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It isn't just the beer that contributes to beer bellies. It could also be the extra calories, fat and unhealthy eating choices that may come with moderate drinking.


A recent study found that men consume an additional 433 calories (equivalent to a McDonald's double cheeseburger) on days they drink a moderate amount of alcohol. About 61% of the caloric increase comes from the alcohol itself. Men also report eating higher amounts of saturated fats and meat, and less fruit and milk, on those days than on days when they aren't drinking, the study showed.


Women fared a bit better, taking in an extra 300 calories on moderate-drinking days, from the alcohol and eating fattier foods. But women's increase in calories from additional eating wasn't statistically significant, the study said.


'Men and women ate less healthily on days they drank alcohol,' said Rosalind Breslow, an epidemiologist with the federal National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and lead author of the study. 'Poorer food choices on drinking days have public-health implications,' she said.

流行病学家罗莎琳德・布雷斯洛(Rosalind Breslow)说:“男性和女性喝酒的时候吃得都不太健康。”她是这项研究的带头人,效力于美国国家酒精滥用及酗酒问题研究所(National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism)。她说:“是饮酒时的食物选择不当给公众健康造成了隐患。”

The findings dovetail with controlled lab studies in which participants generally eat more food after consuming alcohol. Researchers suggest that alcohol may enhance 'the short-term rewarding effects' of consuming food, according to a 2010 report in the journal Physiology & Behavior that reviewed previous studies on alcohol, appetite and obesity.

研究发现与实验室对照实验相吻合,在实验中,参与者往往在喝酒之后食量更大。《生理学与行为学》(Physiology & Behavior)期刊在2010年发表了一项关于酒精、食欲与肥胖的报告,研究者认为酒精会增进摄入食物时的“短期奖赏效应”。

But other studies have pointed to a different trend. Moderate drinkers gain less weight over time than either heavy drinkers or people who abstain from alcohol, particularly women, this research has shown. Moderate drinking is considered having about two drinks a day for men and one for women.


'People who gain the least weight are moderate drinkers, regardless of [alcoholic] beverage choice,' said Eric Rimm, an associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard Medical School and chairman of the 2010 review of alcohol in the federal dietary guidelines. The weight-gain difference is modest, and 'starting to drink is not a weight-loss diet,' he said.

埃里克・利姆(Eric Rimm)说:“体重增长最少的人都是适量饮酒的人,无论选择的是何种(酒精)饮料。”他是哈佛医学院(Harvard Medical School)流行病学与营养学副教授,也是2010年美国饮食指南酒类评论的主席。他说,体重增长的差异并不显著,所以“开始喝酒并不是个减肥办法。”

The various research efforts form part of a long-standing debate about how alcohol affects people's appetites, weight and overall health. Researchers say there aren't simple answers, and suggest that individuals' metabolism, drinking patterns and gender may play a role.


Alcohol is 'a real wild card when it comes to weight management,' said Karen Miller-Kovach, chief scientific officer of Weight Watchers International. At seven calories per gram, alcohol is closer to fat than to carbohydrate or protein in caloric content, she said. Alcohol tends to lower restraint, she notes, causing a person to become more indulgent with what they're eating.

Weight Watchers International首席科学官卡伦・米勒-科瓦奇(Karen Miller-Kovach)说,酒精的确是“控制体重时的一个未知数” 。她说,以每克七卡路里来计算,酒精的卡路里含量比起碳水化合物和蛋白质更接近脂肪。她还提到,酒精会减弱人们的自制力,这使得人在吃东西时更加放纵自己。

Research bolstering the role of moderate drinking in helping to control weight gain was published in 2004 in the journal Obesity Research. That study followed nearly 50,000 women over eight years. An earlier study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 1994, followed more than 7,000 people for 10 years and found that moderate drinkers gained less weight than nondrinkers. Studies comparing changes in waist circumference among different groups have yielded similar results.

《肥胖研究》(Obesity Research)期刊在2004年发表的一项研究肯定了适度饮酒在帮助控制体重增长中的作用。这项研究在八年间追踪了近50,000名女性。更早的一项研究发表于1994年的《美国流行病学杂志》(American Journal of Epidemiology),该研究对7,000人进行了10年的追踪,并发现适量饮酒的人比不喝酒的人体重增长得更少。两项研究都对不同组别腰围的变化进行了比较,并得出了相似的结论。

Dr. Rimm said it isn't clear why moderate drinking may be protective against typical weight gain, but it could have to do with metabolic adjustments. After people drink alcohol, their heart rate increases so they burn more calories in the following hour.


'It's a modest amount,' he said. 'But if you take an individual that eats 100 calories instead of a glass of wine, the person drinking the glass of wine will have a slight increase in the amount of calories burned.'


Food choices could also play a role. Some studies suggest that women who drink alcohol eat fewer sweet foods, possibly because alcohol stimulates the same pleasure center in the brain as sweets, said Dr. Rimm. That isn't seen as consistently in men.


Men have more of the alcohol dehydrogenase group of enzymes that metabolize some alcohol in the stomach than women, said Andrea N. Giancoli, spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a professional organization.

安德烈娅・N・詹科利(Andrea N. Giancoli)说,相较于女性,男性体内拥有更多乙醇脱氢?,可将胃里的酒精分解代谢。她是专业机构营养与饮食学会(Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)的新闻发言人。

One theory for what this might mean is that women's bodies divert alcohol not being broken down in the stomach to a different metabolic pathway that results in more calories being burned, said Ms. Giancoli, a registered dietitian near Los Angeles. As a result, fewer calories from alcohol may be stored in women as fat, she said.


Another factor is drinking patterns. A 2005 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology looked at data from 45,896 drinkers. It found that as the quantity of drinking increased from one to four drinks in a day, the subjects' body-mass index increased.


'People who drank the least often but drank more on the days that they drank had higher BMI,' said Dr. Breslow, who co-authored the study.


Dr. Breslow's latest study, which found caloric intake increases with moderate drinking, didn't look at associations between alcohol and body weight or track food choices and diets over time. She suggested that people who increase their caloric intake with moderate drinking one day might compensate the next day by consuming less.


The study, which appeared in the May issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and included 1,864 mostly moderate drinkers.

这项研究发表于5月的《美国临床营养学杂志》(American Journal of Clinical Nutrition),其对美国国家健康与营养检测调查(National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey)中1,864名通常适量饮酒的人的数据进行了分析。

Another study, which looked at data from nearly 16,000 individuals over a year, concluded that as alcohol consumption increased there was a decline in diet quality.


That research was published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in 2010.

这项研究刊登在2010年的《美国营养协会杂志》(Journal of the American Dietetic Association)上。

David Jensen, a 56-year-old who considers himself overweight, says cutting his daily drink or two helped him reduce nighttime snacking. 'You have a glass of wine and then it's, oh man, I need cheese with that, or I need chocolate. You end up eating all this other stuff,' said Mr. Jensen, who lives near Seattle and works as a translator for financial clients.

今年56岁的大卫・詹森(David Jensen)认为自己体重超标,他说减少日常饮酒量有助于少吃夜宵。詹森说:“如果你喝了一杯酒,就会想,哎呀,我需要配一块奶酪下酒,或者我要一块巧克力。”他住在西雅图附近,为金融客户提供翻译服务。

Last year he stopped drinking for five months and lost just over 10 pounds 'with really no effort,' Mr. Jensen said.


But once he started drinking again his weight went up and he is back to where he started.