Alcohol and a high-fat diet: a combination favoring overfeeding

The effects of alcohol and dietary fat on spontaneous energy and macronutrient intakes were investigated in eight male subjects who participated in a protocol including four randomly assigned 2-d sessions during which they ate ad libitum. In each session they had free access to either high- or low-fat foods, with alcohol or a placebo. The high-fat diet was associated with a substantial increase in daily energy intake. Alcohol had no inhibitory effect on food intake and its energy content was thus associated with an additional increase in energy intake. The enhancing effects of alcohol and dietary fat on daily energy intake were additive so that overfeeding was maximal (2.8 MJ/d) under the high-fat diet+alcohol condition. To further examine the effects of alcohol on energy and macronutrient intakes, reported food intake was studied in 351 men and 360 women who had been tested in the Québec Family Study. The results showed that a high alcohol intake was associated with a high daily energy intake and had no inhibitory effect on lipid intake. In conclusion, a dietary regimen providing a high fraction of energy as alcohol and fat increases the risk for positive energy balance under free-living conditions.

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