THURSDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- The average American adult
takes in 100 calories a day imbibing beer, wine or liquor, a new
Not everyone drinks that regularly, of course, but the research
shows that about 30 percent of men and 18 percent of women aged 20
or older consume some form of alcoholic beverage on a daily
On average, however, "people were consuming less than one drink
per day," said study author Dr. Samara Joy Nielsen, a senior
service fellow at the National Center for Health Statistics
Many may not realize that even a little daily drinking can lead
to weight gain over time, she said.
"Beverage calories count for adults," Neilsen said. "We have forgotten that, and not examined what beverages are contributing to caloric intake among adults."
To put things into perspective, "a beer is 150 calories and a
soda is 150 calories," she said. "Be aware of
allof your calories consumed for the day including coffee
and tea, sugar-sweetened beverages and alcohol."
The new report details patterns of alcoholic beverage
consumption by U.S. adults from 2007 to 2010. The findings are
published in the November issue of the
NCHS Data Brief.
Participants were asked to recount the number of drinks they had
over a 24-hour period. Men were more likely to opt for beer than
any other types of alcohol, while women seemed to prefer wine.
The 100-calorie per day average represents about 16 percent of
total calories, the researchers noted. Not surprisingly, the
biggest drinkers were men aged 20 to 39, who consumed 174 calories
of alcohol per day, on average.
A little drinking is not necessarily unhealthy, and current U.S.
dietary guidelines suggest that moderate alcohol consumption -- a
drink per day for women and two drinks for men -- can have a place
in a healthy diet.
The new findings suggest that most people are sticking to these
limits. However, 20 percent of men and 6 percent of women consume
more than 300 calories worth of alcohol on a given day, which is
more than two drinks and greater than the one drink specified in
the dietary guidelines.
For the report, "one drink" equaled a 12-ounce serving of a beer
or wine cooler, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of table wine and
1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.
But even 100 calories per day can add up to overweight if people
aren't careful, one nutritionist said.
Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington
University in St. Louis, said that 100 calories per day from
alcohol translates to a 10-pound-per-year weight gain if the
calories are in addition to their normal daily intake. "This data
provides important information for helping consumers understand
'where are my calories coming from?'" she said.
Eric Rimm, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical
School in Boston, agreed that the report is "a good accounting of
the current drinking in the U.S. and the calories that are derived
from those beverages."
But he added that measuring alcohol consumption on a given day
may not give the full picture when it comes to individuals. "On a
given day when people eat French fries they may make up 25 percent
of your total calories," Rimm said. "But most people don't eat
French fries every day."
Is your drinking pattern healthy or not? Find out at the
U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and
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