Drunkorexia: Destructive Trend Hits the UK

43% of British men and 35% of women between the ages of 18-24 are skipping meals in favour of binge-drinking – or drunkorexia, according to the latest National Health Report from healthcare provider, Benenden .

The report found that the problem of “Drunkorexia” is now prolific on UK soil – and it’s by no means just women that are following the trend in great numbers, with more men admitting to the practice than their female counterparts.

Pressure to be slim, an awareness of exercising calorie control, and peer pressure to drink large amounts of alcohol are all factors in this phenomenon as, when asked, two in five (41%) of 18-24 year olds said they ate healthily purely with a view to looking good, without any concern for their overall health.

This reckless attitude towards personal health, and relative lack of concern as to the long-term health ramifications of following a phenomenon such as Drunkorexia are not just confined to young people though, with a lack of knowledge displayed across all ages in the 2016 National Health Report, which can be read in full at http://www.benenden.co.uk/healthreport.

Dr. John Giles, Medical Director at Benenden, commented: “Even with the spending of many millions of pounds by the NHS and public health organisations it seems that basic information about diet and wellbeing is not getting through to the public, and despite drinking less, many young people are seemingly favouring alcohol consumption over a healthy, balanced diet.”

The report, compiled by mutual health and wellbeing provider Benenden, questioned the UK public on a number of topics ranging from living a healthy lifestyle to how the NHS is run. By and large, the findings highlight that the public is in denial about how much they think they know about healthy eating, they claim to be near-experts, but when drilling down to real-life examples, the vast majority of respondents failed to choose the right answer to simple diet-related questions, or the healthier option when offered the choice between everyday food and drinks.

When it comes to back-of-pack nutritional information in relation to how much salt, sugar and fat the average person is recommended to consume each day, there have been a number of changes over the years, from the traffic-light labelling system, to Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs), and now to Reference Intakes (RI). Perhaps this is why just half (51%) of people say they pay them any attention. Despite the fact that half of the population do read back-of-pack labelling, when tested about what the recommended daily limits, or reference intakes (RIs) actually are, these same people could not reliably say what the daily limits are for simple food groups such as fat, sugar and salt.

  • 56% of people did not know how much salt you can healthily eat each day (one teaspoon)
  • 75% of people did not know how much saturated fat is allowed each day (20g)
  • Just 10% of people knew that the recommended amount of sugar is 90g a day
  • 29% believe fats found in olive and sunflower oils, avocados nuts and seeds (mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats) were bad for them, despite them being known as ‘good fats’ and very beneficial to a balanced diet

Dr. Giles continued:

“Despite legislation and attempts on a voluntary basis by the food production and manufacturing industry there remains a woeful lack of awareness about basic dietary advice and the labelling of foodstuffs. Whether this is down to poor education or a lack of interest is not clear but I think we need to rethink how we try and engage with individuals and try and encourage them to assume greater personal responsibility and accountability for their health.”


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