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Dangerous eating disorder 'drunkorexia' gains force

Yaiza de la Campa. Journalist

The trend of restricting food to make room for alcoholic drink calories appears to be on the rise. This is a relatively new eating disorder that specialists are starting to focus on in fear that it may eventually lead to anorexia, bulimia or alcoholism.

Drunkorexia could be defined as a problem that affects young women in particular, and involves self-imposed malnutrition and binge drinking to avoid weight gain from alcohol. In view of the calories in alcohol, many young women today decide to drink rather than to eat.

A can of beer has 110 calories, a glass of wine around 80, and a mixed drink more than 200 and, in view of these numbers, many young dieters are choosing alcoholic drinks over a well-balanced meal. This issue is especially worrying in women, since they develop alcohol-induced liver disease over a shorter period of time and after consuming less alcohol compared with men. Women absorb 30 to 50% more alcohol into their bloodstream than men who drink the same amount. Heart health is also an issue: women who drink about 60% of what men drink have the same risk of developing alcoholic cardiomyopathy.

It's important to be aware of, and raise awareness about, this illness as it is relatively unknown, suffered in silence and difficult to identify. Like anorexia, bulimia and bigorexia (which a person with drunkorexia may also develop), this illness is dangerous at nutritional, functional and cognitive levels, and can lead to severe malnutrition and increased liver damage, according to the Obesity Institute.

We are committed to a varied, balanced and moderate diet, moderate consumption of alcohol, and regular exercise.  

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