A recent study by the University of Missouri has found that many university students are skipping meals in order to save calories for drinking, in a disorder named ‘drunkorexia’.

Over a 1,000 students were questioned in the study conducted by the assistant professor of social work and public health at the university, Victoria Osborne. It revealed the students’ reasons for reducing their food intake included saving money, controlling weight, and getting drunk quicker.

The results also showed that female undergraduates were three times more likely to suffer from the disorder than their male counterparts.

But is any of this really new information? Surely this research just confirms what has already been happening for a number of years. Students drink to get drunk, and the quickest (and cheapest) way to do that is on an empty stomach. A seemingly win-win situation.

According to Osborne the effects of alcohol, on top of a lack of nutrients could result in ‘short and long term cognitive problems, including difficulty concentrating, studying and making decisions.’

But for the girls it’s not just about saving money, it’s about looking good. With a bottle of WKD standing at 174 calories a piece, you can see why so many girls go for the vodka and Diet Coke option (52 calories). A few of the Manchester Metropolitan University students that I spoke to about this issue cited looking good and remaining thin as one of their top concerns when drinking a lot.

Louise, an English student here at MMU, spoke about the pressure to be slim stemming from competition between girls.

“There definitely is a huge amount of pressure to stay thin as a girl.There are so many gorgeous (and thin) girls you encounter living in a university city like Manchester, especially when you go out a lot.”

Having said that, many of the girls I spoke to had had a bad experience from drinking on an empty stomach – and had learned from it.

“I had a really bad experience with a bottle of red and some vodka on an empty belly. All I can say is that the morning wasn’t pretty and I had the worst hangover of my life.” – Bonita, a Digital Media student.

So is this really something we should be worrying about amongst students at MMU?Unless you’re consistently skipping meals and counting calories on the side of bottles, then congratulations, you’re just a normal student binge drinker.

Chris Sorek, chief executive of education charity Drinkaware, gave advice on cutting calories in a healthy way.


“While it’s good to know about the calories in your favourite tipple – and you can use Drinkaware’s online drinks calculator my.drinkaware to do just that – don’t let it become an obsession that encourages you to skip meals. Simply put, for the calorie conscious, it’s healthier and makes sense to cut back on the alcohol rather than food.”

Written by: Emma Lyskava


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