Holiday Drinks May Swell Your Waistline

USA TODAY, December 1999 | Go to article overview

Holiday Drinks May Swell Your Waistline


Eat, rather than drink, your holiday treats this season if you want to avoid gaining weight, suggests research from Purdue University's Food and Nutrition Department, West Lafayette, Ind. The findings indicate that a glass of wine may contribute more to your waistline than a slice of pumpkin pie with the same number of calories.

"Fluid calories don't give people as strong a feeling of fullness, so they tend to eat more," explains Richard Mattes, professor of foods and nutrition. "Beverages are not solely to blame, but accumulating evidence indicates that caloric drinks are contributing to excess calorie consumption in this country, and thus a national trend toward being overweight."

He has been concerned about beverage consumption since research he conducted in 1996 showed that persons who drank alcohol or soda did not compensate for those extra calories by consuming less of other foods. In the latest study by graduate student Doreen Dimeglio and Mattes, a group of subjects consumed a fixed amount of calories of a sugar-sweetened beverage each day for one month. Daily eating patterns and body weight were recorded both before and during the experiment. After a month off, the same subjects consumed the same number of calories per day of a solid food made largely of sugar. Again, eating habits and weight were monitored.

"When the solid food was consumed, the subjects ate less of other foods, offsetting the calories contributed by the test food. On the other hand, when they drank the beverage, no decrease of calorie consumption occurred. As a result, their total energy intake and body weight increased," Mattes indicates.

These findings are significant because Americans are drinking more caloric beverages than ever before. …

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