Weight-conscious young women are skipping meals so they can drink alcohol and not pick up weight in a phenomenon called “Drunkorexia”, US researchers said.
Researchers from the University of Missouri found that 16 percent of undergraduate female students surveyed said that they skipped meals or cut calories the day before they planned to go drinking so they could indulge without picking up weight,
Victoria Osborne, assistant professor of social work and public health said that besides starving the brain of important minerals and vitamins, the practise is also hugely dangerous to a person's safety and wellbeing.
A typical example of behaviour of those in the study was to deny one's self two biscuits which would make enough room to drink three vodka and cokes without putting on any weight.
Skipping a plate of spaghetti bolognaise – which amounts to 700 calories – would allow four or five ciders or alcopops.
The short term health impact can vary from difficulty concentrating to the inability to make decisions, she warned.
People who engage in prolonged drinking of this kind can also develop major problems such as eating disorders, alcoholism and risky sexual behaviour that could all result in chronic diseases later on in life.
Previous studies have linked the abuse of alcohol in as much as a third of women suffering from eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.
And this phenomenon is three times more common in women than men as young women feel pressure to party, whilst maintaining a skinny frame.
Women are at more risk, argued researchers, because they metabolise alcohol differently and are more likely to suffer from alcohol poisoning or chronic diseases later in life than their male counterparts.
They warned that women were also more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviour as a result of this phenomenon because they would get drunk quicker than usual thanks to an empty stomach.
"This study does point out the serious effects on our brains of excessive drinking, and too many people are unaware of the high calorie content of alcohol- sometimes feeling that it 'doesn’t count' as calorie intake," said Susan Ringwood, Chief Executive of the charity B-eat.