Alcohol and weight gain 


Will drinking alcohol make you gain weight? The answer isn't as straightforward as you may think.


The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) conducted a research on alcohol and obesity and found that:

  • It is unclear whether alcohol consumption is a risk factor for weight gain because studies performed to date have found positive, negative or no association.
  • Where there is a positive association between alcohol and body weight it is more likely to be found in men than in women.
  • The present data provide inadequate scientific evidence to assess whether beer intake is associated with general or abdominal obesity.
  • When considering beer, where there is a positive association, it is more likely to be for abdominal obesity (abdominal fat around the stomach) than for general obesity for men and women.

So yes, it's possible to gain weight from alcohol, but it's not inevitable.

Whether or not you personally gain weight from drinking alcohol depends on many factors. These include:

  • your behaviours when you drink 
    • what you drink
    • how often you drink
    • how much you drink
    • what you eat when you drink
  • factors that relate to your unique body and lifestyle 
    • your overall diet
    • your genetics
    • your gender
    • your level of physical activity
    • your age
    • your health -- for example the presence of other risk factors such as obesity and diabetes.

But remember, drinking alcohol- particularly in excessive amounts - has many other serious health risks beyond possible weight gain, including high blood pressure,heart disease, liver disease, and some cancers. So it's important to monitor your alcohol consumption as part of a healthy diet, regardless of whether or not you're managing your weight. 


While the relationship between alcohol consumption and obesity remains unclear, there are good reasons to think that alcohol may play a role:

  • It stops your body from burning fat.
  • It is high in kilojoules.
  • It leads to greater hunger and less satiety (the feeling of being full).
  • It causes poor food choices

What can I do if my child is very overweight?



If your child is very overweight, there's lots you can do to help them become a healthy weight as they grow.Very overweight children tend to grow up to be very overweight adults, which can lead to health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. Research shows children who achieve a healthy weight tend to be fitter, healthier, better able to learn, and are more self-confident. They're also less likely to have low self-esteem and be bullied. As a parent, there's lots you can do to help your child become a healthier weight. Getting them to be more active and eat well is important. Listen to your child's concern about their weight. Overweight children often know they have a weight problem, and they need to feel supported and in control of their weight. Let them know that you love them, whatever their weight, and all you want is for them to be healthy and happy.

Steps for success

Here are 5 key ways to help your child achieve a healthy weight:

  • be a good role model
  • encourage 60 minutes, and up to several hours, of physical activity a day
  • keep to child-sized portions
  • eat healthy meals, drinks and snacks
  • less screen time and more sleep

If your child has a medical condition, the advice in this article may not be relevant. You should check with a GP or hospital doctor first.

Be a good role model

One of the best ways to instil good habits in your child is to be a good role model.

 One of the most powerful ways to enourage your child to be active and eat well is to do so yourself.

Set a good example by going for a walk or bike ride instead of watching TV or surfing the internet.

Any changes you make to your child's diet and lifestyle are much more likely to be accepted if the changes are small and involve the whole family.

Get active


All children need about 60 minutes of physical activity a day for good health.

For younger children it can take the form of active play, such as ball games, and using playground swings.

For older children it could include riding a bike, skateboarding, walking to school, skipping, swimming, dancing and martial arts.

If your child isn't used to being active, encourage them to start with what they can do and build up to 60 minutes a day.

They're more likely to stick to their new activity levels if you let them choose the type of activity they're comfortable with.

Walking or cycling short distances instead of using the car or bus is a great way to be active together as a family.

Child-size portions

Try to avoid feeding your child large portions.

Try not to make your child finish everything on the plate or eat more than they want to.

And avoid using adult-size plates for younger children as it encourages them to eat oversized portions.

Beware of high-calorie foods. Calories are a measure of the energy in food.

Knowing how many calories your child consumes each day, and balancing that with the amount of energy they use up in activity, will help them reach and stay at a healthy weight.

Eat healthy meals

Children, just like adults, should aim to eat 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables every day. They're a great source of fibre and vitamins and minerals.

Discourage your child from having sugary or high-fat foods like sweets, cakes, biscuits, some sugary cereals, and sugar-sweetened soft and fizzy drinks.


Switch sweetened drinks for water.

Less screen time and more sleep

Help your children avoid sitting and lying around too much.

Limit the amount of time your child spends on inactive pastimes such as watching television, playing video games and playing on electronic devices.

There's no hard and fast advice on how much is too much, but experts say children should watch no more than 2 hours of television each day.

It's been shown that children who don't have the recommended amount of sleep are more likely to be overweight.

The less children sleep, the greater the risk of them becoming obese.

Three exhibitions to see in London this weekend

From the UK's hottest graduates to forgotten Indian masterpieces

Group shows of graduating, or recently graduated, artists are invariably a mixed bag: a cross section of what is spilling out of art schools now, with larger patterns often only discernible many years later. But several themes definitely crop up in this year’s Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition, which opens today at the South London Gallery (until 23 February 2020; free). The rise and rise of gestural, naïve painting is still going strong, as is a fun DIY ethos when making video works. There are some more serious themes explored with works about marginalised communities and touch of recent politics too—Boris Johnson and Grenfell are subjects of paintings—but on the whole, this is a playful bunch. There are examples of humour throughout, from subtle titling, such Jan Agha’s portrait Pompous Prick (2019), to a deadpan collection of 91 slightly different shades of blue postcard in Paul Jex’s Yves Klein IKB 79 or Tate Modern keeps getting it wrong (2016). The video works—which thankfully for a group show are mostly short—often embody the absurd, whether it is Annie Mackinnon’s Compost Daddy (2018), where her father wears a plastic suit filled with manure to poke fun at the fashion industry; Taylor Jack Smith’s sobbing cartoon man in Bawler (2018); or the moment when SpongeBob SquarePants has his nose pulled off by one of the teenage dancers in Roland Carline’s video. There seems also to be an appreciation of the formal qualities of works, such as in Camille Yvert’s movable polystyrene sculpture Permanent Transit (2018) or Renie Masters’s cut-out sculptures A Hard Rock to Carry (2018). The exhibition, with a dozen fewer artists than last year, seems breezier than usual and is perhaps also a reflection of the strong selection panel—the artists Rana Begum, Sonia Boyce and Ben Rivers—as much as what art schools are rolling out.

Peggy Guggenheim and London at Ordovas (until 14 December; free) takes place around the corner from where the American heiress ran a short-lived gallery in a former pawnbrokers on Cork Street on the eve of the Second World War. The show illuminates Guggenheim Jeune’s attempt to stir an avant-garde scene in London, with facsimiles of private view invites for shows mixing the latest Parisian tendencies with an emerging stable of British artists. (Marcel Duchamp, no less, served as the gallery’s primary curatorial advisor.) An elegant hang plays on the biomorphic affinities between two key artists: the sculptor Hans Arp, from whom Peggy Guggenheim made her first art acquisition in 1937, and the painter Yves Tanguy, whose 11-day solo show in June 1938 closed the gallery’s first season on a critical and commercial high. Museum-quality loans from private collections and, indeed, the Hepworth Wakefield and the National Galleries of Scotland, evoke the dialogue between abstraction and surrealism that would come to characterise Guggenheim’s own collection—a fascinating foretaste of the house-museum that still bears her name on Venice’s Grand Canal today.

How many Indian naturalist painters of the 19th century can you name? Chances are extremely few, more likely none at all. Works from this period are some of the finest animal and botanical works in the world. Yet for centuries the indigenous artists behind these depictions of animals, plants and village life have been relegated to nameless artisans from local schools, with the focus directed at the European East India Company officials who commissioned them. Undertaking the important task of righting this historic wrong, the Wallace Collection has brought together more than 100 watercolour-on-paper works for Forgotten Masters (until 16 April 2020; tickets £13.50, concessions available) and the results are magnificent. Here the sleekness of a Sambar deer's fur is expertly captured by the Muslim painter Shaikh Zain Ud-Din, who was so skilled he could accurately convey the movement of water through the trailing spines of a mango fish, even though it is painted on a blank background. The botanical works on show are especially strong—the tangential tendrils of a cobra lily by Vishnupersaud are more playful than anything his Western peers were producing. Throughout these works the client's brief—to create accurate scientific studies— is tempered by Mughal-influences. Where people appear, they are mainly villagers and courtiers (the curator William Dalrymple tells The Art Newspaper that these are some of the earliest recordings of Indian villagers with identifiable faces). Depictions of Westerners often hint to underlying tensions between artist and patron, such as a (presumably) white child on horseback whose entire face is obscured by her hat. Although the show could go further in addressing the social reality of the East India Company, it does recognise the thorny colonial context of these paintings that explains why these artists have been ignored by Western institutions for so long. This is a move that will no doubt help to reposition the Wallace Collection as a forward-thinking institution that is willing to play a part in rebalancing the canon.

Fresh meat: painting restoration reveals that hunk of beef thought to be cooked was actually raw

The 17th-century work features in a newly opened exhibition on art and food at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge

A mighty feast of roast beef ready for the table has been transformed into a glistening slab of raw meat, to the surprise of the conservators who cleaned a 400-year-old painting for an exhibition on food opening today at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

The view of heaped ingredients and gleaming pots and pans was made in around 1620 by the Dutch artist Floris Gerritsz van Schooten, who is renowned for his kitchen still life paintings. The work, which has been in the Fitzwilliam collection for 200 years, had a coat of discoloured varnish that appeared to show grimy utensils and a rather sooty roast sirloin with a thick layer of yellowed fat.

The conservation work, which was undertaken by Victoria Sutcliffe at the university's Hamilton Kerr Institute laboratory, shows that the shining copper and brass pans are a credit to the kitchen workers, and the pink beef is still raw, awaiting the cook's attention.

Sutcliffe's work has also revealed details that were previously barely discernible, including the scars on the lower legs of the rabbits from the snares used to trap them, and Van Schooten's initials on the stone ledge under the produce. And her work showed that the back of the canvas is a rare example of a 17th century work that escaped later re-lining, a technique to strengthen the work but which can have the effect of flattening the paint surface.

Victoria Avery, the keeper of applied arts at the Fitzwilliam and the joint curator of the exhibition, commented that the heap of autumn ingredients including fish and meat, pumpkins, cabbage and peas, also documents the range of produce available in 17th-century Haarlem, and the cooking methods used, while the well scrubbed pots testify to more than just the hard work of the kitchen staff. “All of them have sparkling insides but only some of them have shiny outsides, which reveals that they were used for different kinds of cooking over different kinds of fuel," she says. "Those pots with shiny outsides must have been used for making preserves or other food that required precise temperature control over charcoal. While the blackened pots were for cooking meat or vegetables over an open wood fire, she explained: “Burning charcoal releases carbon monoxide that reduces any oxides or other stains on copper leaving a pan’s surface remarkably clean and shiny.”

The exhibition brings together rare loans from Cambridge colleges and libraries, and private and museum collections across Cambridgeshire and beyond. Recreated feasts include a banquet of sugar sculptures fit for a Renaissance wedding made by the food historian Ivan Day. A giant pineapple, by artists Bompass and Parr, has also sprouted on the lawn outside the museum.

The Van Schooten is among many works released from decades in museum stores and specially conserved for the exhibition. Avery thinks its restoration is a revelation. “Even the best photography doesn't do it justice, as it's on such a large scale, and we've deliberately hung it low for children and wheel-chair users, so everyone can really appreciate the brilliant brushwork and painterly illusionism” she said.

Exhibition of art without borders comes to Miami's Dade College

In melting-pot Miami, group show focuses on work with themes of immigration and identity

The Carribean poet and cultural theorist Édouard Glissant claimed his right to opacity at a 1969 congress for the National Autonomous University of Mexico. “There’s a basic injustice in the worldwide spread of the transparency and the projection of Western thought,” he told the audience. “Why must we evaluate people on the scale of the transparency of ideas proposed by the West?”

That question underwrites much of Where the Oceans Meet, an exhibition at Miami Dade College Museum of Art and Design that analyses the follies of border mentality. The show lists Glissant as a major influence alongside Lydia Cabrera, the Cuban painter and ethnographic scholar who became a stalwart of the Afrocubanismo movement.

“The beauty of this exhibition is its curation of thinkers,” says the museum’s executive director and chief curator Rina Carvajal, who organised the show together with Hans Ulrich Obrist from London’s Serpentine Galleries, Gabriela Rangel from the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, and the artist Asad Raza. “Artists are speaking about immigration policies, memory, identity, displacement, war, capitalism and religion. It’s about finding a way to connect with other people while respecting our differences,” Carvajal says.

The show is dedicated to the renowned Nigeran curator Okwui Enwezor, who died of cancer during the show’s preparations in March. “He was a pioneer of this notion of crossing borders and connecting continents,” Carvajal says. “The dedication felt important for all of us who worked with Okwui over the years.”

Accordingly, it casts a wide net around the world, gathering artists as disparate as Tania Bruguera and Walid Raad, Félix González-Torres and Yto Barrada, Glenn Ligon and Jack Whitten. Together, they celebrate the intellectual curiosity and political gumption of Cabrera, who disrupted racial barriers by elevating Afro-Cuban culture without prejudice for social and economic class hierarchies.

A highlight is Lani Maestro’s A Book Thick of Ocean (1993)—a tribute to the Filipino-Canadian artist’s “Nanay” or “heart mother”. Within its 500 pages are notions of repetition and longing—potent themes for Maestro, who went into political exile in Canada after demonstrating against the Philippines’s repressive regime in 1982. Consequently, the exhibition aims to push ideological boundaries between different modes of personhood and cultural placemaking.

“Global exchanges have always been so important,” Asad Raza told the Miami New Times. “They’re not new, and the neo-nationalist ideas that are in the air these days that claim we can reject the ‘other’ and foreign influences and return to an imaginary purity are complete nonsense. But too often the artificial, sterile globalisation process homogenises culture. Instead, we need to exchange with each other the way Cabrera and Glissant demonstrate and create a much richer and more diverse cultural soil.”

As a melting pot of its own for American and Caribbean cultures, Miami is a fitting stage for this type of show, where visitors are asked to question concepts of authority, identity and terrain. Around half of the city’s residents are foreign-born, with Miami Dade College boasting more than 197 nationalities among its student body, according to Carvajal.

“This exhibition is delicately woven,” she adds. “Miami is full of immigrants—we are already a very diasporic community.”