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Those looking to lose weight by exercising and cutting down on fatty foods may want to consider an addition to their regiment: drinking less alcohol.

A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics indicates that Americans are consuming an average of almost 100 calories a day in alcoholic beverages. This can translate into a weight gain of about 5.2 pounds per year.

The average calories from alcohol are very different for women and men, at 50 and 150, respectively.

Psychology professor and Director of Clinical Services at the Perelman School of Medicine’s Center for Weight and Eating Disorders David Sarwer said the weight gain is a result of an average of about one alcoholic drink per day.

This might be concerning to students who average more than one drink per day, especially new students who may be wary of the dreaded Freshman 15.

However, perhaps counterintuitively, the average weight gain for students is probably less than it is for older people, according to Sarwer.

“As we age, our metabolic rate goes down over time,” he said.

Another factor is that many college students are physically active, he added.

While the news of the alcohol-related weight gain may have been surprising to some, students had mixed reactions to the report.

“I thought [the weight gain] would be higher,” College senior Julia Eckstein said. She feels people underestimate the calorie intake associated with alcohol.

“I would have thought that only applies to alcoholics,” College freshman Alanna Cruz-Bendezu said.

College senior Mary Tsai was neither surprised nor concerned. “I think each person should be smart enough to limit their intake if they’re really so concerned about the weight gain,” she said.

Sarwer was not surprised by the study’s findings, but he did find them worrisome.

“Anytime you’re drinking any kind of beverage that has calories in it, it amounts to a weight gain,” he said. He added that many Americans monitor their calorie intake from sugary drinks, but they tend to neglect alcohol.

Although students have to worry less about immediate weight gain associated with alcoholic drinks, Sarwer said many are “pretty high risk clients to become obese,” due to the drinking lifestyle some students choose.

“It’s time to start becoming mindful and thoughtful of the food and drink you consume so you don’t start gaining weight,” he said.

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