According to researchers from France, as women's alcohol intake increases, so does their intake of fat, protein and cholesterol. In a study of nearly 73,000 middle-aged French women, investigators found that those who drank the most alcohol consumed about 30% more calories overall and 32% more cholesterol than teetotalers, regardless of their choice of beverage. Heavy drinkers, or those who consumed at least 2.5 drinks daily, also consumed more iron and vitamins A and E but less beta-carotene than women who drank less. The intake of processed meats, cheese, oil and bread was higher among drinkers while the intake of fruit, vegetables and yogurt was lower. Smokers were four times as frequent among heavy drinkers as among non-drinkers.
The study findings suggest that drinking may affect health indirectly by increasing the risk of poor nutrition and smoking. The results also contradict previous studies showing that moderate drinkers have healthier diets than non-drinkers, as intakes of calories and fat were found to rise in tandem with alcohol intake in the current study.
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