Submitted to: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: August 10, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: A letter to the editor was written by Dr. Eric Jequier, Lausanne, Switzerland, regarding a recent paper we published. He suggested that the methodology used by us was not sufficiently sensitive to detect the probable difference between diets with alcohol and diets without. My reply as senior author was that the method he pointed to as too insensitive was not the method we used to base our conclusions. Furthermore the method we did use was more than adequate to detect any nutritionally significant differences between the diets with alcohol and those not containing alcohol. The original work as well as this supportive letter is important to both the nutrition research, education and policy community as well as the wine, beer and spirits industry for understanding the physiological nutritional and health aspects of moderate alcohol consumption.
Technical Abstract: In a letter to the editor, Dr. Jequier, referring to a paper recently published by us, calculated the difference in efficiency between alcohol (AC) and carbohydrate (CHO) as approximately 12%. In our paper, we showed the difference between CHO and AC to be less than 12% and probably substantially less when individuals consume AC at the levels of this study. .The basis of his criticism was that the intake/balance method is not sufficiently sensitive to detect this difference when AC only constitutes 5% of the diet. We pointed out that our conclusions were not based on this method. We only offered this data in support of our primary method which was indirect calorimetry. The data from this study show that AC must increase energy expenditure less than 40 - 50 kJ/d over a comparable amount (5% of the diet) of CHO when regularly consumed at moderate levels. The practical consequence of this is that at a very minimum 80% and probably much more, of the dietary energy from AC is available for meeting energy demands. This observation clearly disputes the notion that AC provides no significant amount of energy to the diet of regular moderate consumers. It also supports our observation that there is no nutritionally significant difference between the efficiency of use of CHO and AC when consumed in moderate amounts.