Alcohol Slows Digestion

Drinking alcohol with a rich meal slows digestion by as much as 50 percent. - By slowing digestion, alcohol can also make you feel fuller longer, though it’s not clear what that means for nutrient absorption or weight gain. - If you are prone to stomach distress, it might be best to go with water or tea instead. For many people, a glass of wine helps make food feel like it’s going down more smoothly. But drinking alcohol with a rich and fatty meal causes food to linger in the stomach longer, found a new study — leading people to feel fuller over a greater period of time. The findings offer new insight into the complicated and multi-faceted ways that alcohol interacts with digestion and appetite. The study, which analyzed people as they ate cheese fondue, may also help settle a long-standing debate among Europeans about which beverage is best to drink with a popular and festive dish. “In Switzerland and other parts of Europe, there is a big debate when families get together about what they are going to drink with fondue,” said Mark Fox, a gastroenterologist at the Nottingham Digestive Diseases Center in the United Kingdom. He worked on the study while at the University of Zurich. “Half say you should drink white wine because it dissolves the cheese,” he said. “The other half says you should drink warm tea because wine turns the cheese into a solid mass. All are completely old wives’ tales.” Fondue-lovers also argue about whether a shot of spirits after the meal will further reduce the discomforts of eating such a rich and gooey dinner.  Previous studies have shown that drinking an alcoholic beverage before a meal increases appetite and causes people to eat […]

Alcohol Can Slow Down Digestion

People can be reassured that while alcohol may slow down digestion after a rich calorific meal, enjoyed by many during the Christmas season, it will not cause indigestion symptoms such as heartburn, belching and bloating, finds research in the Christmas issue published in the British Medical Journal. In order to determine the effects of alcohol on the digestive system when rich meals are consumed, investigators at the University Hospital of Zurich, led by Dr Mark Fox now at the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham, studied 20 individuals who either drank wine or black tea with cheese fondue followed by cherry liqueur or water as a digestive after the famous Swiss dish. Fox and colleagues say that while they concentrated on fondue the results of their research “can be generalised to address the wider issue of alcohol’s effects on digestion and digestive comfort after any large, rich meal of the kind we all enjoy over the festive season.” Twenty healthy volunteers (14 male and six female) aged between 23 and 58 took part in the study. None of the participants had a history of alcohol misuse or stomach disease. They had an average body mass index (BMI) of 23.6 and none were taking prescription medicine. The participants were tested on two days at least one week apart. Half of the group drank white wine with their fondue and the other half drank black tea. This was followed by a cherry liqueur digestive (schnapps) or water 90 minutes later. The research team used established scientific breath tests to assess the effects of alcohol consumption on the digestive system. The results show that the process of digestion was much slower in the group that drank alcohol with their fondue. However the results also […]