College is stressful; that's a fact. But there's research that found students engaging in "drunkorexia," which according to Science Daily, is a "non-medical term that refers to a combination of alcohol with diet-related behaviors such as food restriction, excessive exercising, or bingeing and purging." In a few words, it's preventing yourself from going for something healthier to reduce your calorie intake or to stay tipsy or both.
A study from the University of Houston found that 8 out of 10 students of 1,184 respondents have been found to engage in this kind of behavior. And while this was done in the United States, more and more parents are alarmed by this behavior which has been making headlines in the past already. Here are a few things you have to know about drunkorexia, Candy Girls, in case someone you know may be engaging in this:
Some symptoms include induced vomiting, consuming laxatives, doing intense exercises, and skipping food before drinking.
It's a known fact that alcohol intake on an empty stomach is dangerous to your health. "Long term, it's not a good idea to skip nutritious meals in order to consume more calories from alcohol," Aaron White, the program director of college and underage drinking prevention at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, explained in the study. "Then there are the short-term consequences. Having food in your stomach reduces peak blood alcohol levels about a third, so if you flip that, your peak level is significantly higher, increasing risk of blackouts, injuries, and poor decisions. The consequences are worse than the consequences of not saving the calories."
While women were more likely to engage in this behavior, the study states that men were "equally likely to engage in some kind of drunkorexic behavior."
There's a difference in motivation, too, on why male and female students do this. According to a 2014 study from the Journal of American College Health, women that women controlling what they ate before alcohol consumption were driven by their "greater desire to control their weight." While men did it "to save money for purchasing alcohol," as a 2011 research at the University of Missouri at Columbia found.
We are going to encounter a lot of things in college. Drinking is one of those things. But we encourage you to drink responsibly, Candy Girls, and don't do it to save your calories or save your money. Even the ones who conducted the study still admit that they're also clueless as to how this can be prevented as the motivations between students are different. For now, let's look out for each other and value our health.
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