According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA, 2013), four out of five college students drink alcohol. Alcohol consumption is not only the cause of 1,800 deaths, 599,000 injuries, 696,000 physical assaults, and 97,000 sexual assaults of 18-24 year olds but it can also be the link to disordered eating habits such as overeating, purging, or not eating at all (Giles, Champion, Sutfin, McCoy & Wagoner, 2009; NIAAA, 2013). Nearly 80% of college students report drinking alcohol and half have claimed binge drinking in the past two weeks (NIAAA, 2013). Binge drinking can give drinkers an increased chance of becoming vulnerable to 54 different types of injuries and diseases. It is possible for students who drink to eventually develop an alcohol-related health problem that can affect the liver, heart, and stomach (Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2012).
According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder. Around 20% of college students have suffered from an eating disorder and 11% are currently suffering from one (ANAD, 2013). Alcohol may show an association with disordered eating habits in college students. A study reported around half of college freshmen eat more food and make unhealthy food choices following a night of drinking (Lloyd-Richardson, Lucero, DiBello, Jacobson & Wing, 2008).A different study that was about weight conscious drinkers showed students who skip meals to save calories or exercise excessively are doing so to prepare for a night of drinking or drink enough alcohol to purge already consumed food (Barry & Piazza-Gardner, 2012). There is a higher incidence of substance abuse with people who have an eating disorder than people who do not (ANAD, 2103). The aim of this review is to discuss the possible links between alcohol consumption and the eating habits of college students.
A new trend in eating disorders is arising in college students called “drunkorexia,” where people have been noted to starve themselves during the day to prepare for a night of heavy drinking so they do not have to worry about the extra calories (Barry & Piazza-Gardner, 2012; ANAD, 2013). Students who report restricting calories, limit the amount of calories they consume by skipping meals or eating less to compensate for the calories they will be consuming while drinking (Barry & Piazza-Gardner, 2012; Giles et al, 2009). In a study done by Giles et al (2009), more than a third of college students report they restrict fat, food, and calories on days they plan to drink. College freshmen and sophomores were slightly more likely to restrict calories than juniors and seniors. These results also revealed females were almost twice as likely to restrict their calories than males if they were planning on drinking. There is an increased chance of these students being more likely to binge...