Drinking alcohol during a rich meal slows down digestion, but doesn't increase indigestion

Dec 15, 2010

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 today.

In order to determine the effects of 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 or stomach disease. They had an average (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 with their fondue and the other half drank . 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 demonstrate that alcohol did not contribute to an increase in indigestion problems such as heartburn, belching and bloating.

The authors conclude that "healthy readers should be reassured that they can continue to enjoy this traditional meal with the beverage of their choice without undue concern about postprandial digestive discomfort".

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gwrede
5 / 5 (1) Dec 15, 2010
This has to be a joke.

The sample is small, and it is not representative. For example, I can't drink red wine with a meal, so I probably wouldn't have volunteered. (I have no problem with food or red wine separately.) And there was only one kind of food.

I hope this was a "holiday season thing" and not a real article. But really, PhysOrg should have /some/ criteria for publishing stuff.