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Last Updated: Friday, 20 January 2006, 10:14 GMT
Beer drinkers 'eating more junk'
Man drinking beer
Wine is said to be healthier than beer
Beer drinkers are more likely to buy unhealthy food such as chips and ready meals than people who prefer wine, a study suggests.

A Danish team studying 3.5m supermarket transactions found wine buyers bought more olives, fruit and vegetables.

Beer drinkers meanwhile chose fattier, meatier options, the study in the British Medical Journal said.

The team suggested the food factor may explain why wine appears to have a beneficial impact on health.

Cold cuts

Several previous studies have reported that drinking wine is linked to lower mortality rates than drinking beers and spirits.

According to the research team, at the National Institute of Public Research in Copenhagen, wine buyers also bought more poultry, cooking oil and low-fat cheese than beer buyers.

Beer lovers were attracted to cold cuts, chips, pork, butter, margarine, sausages, lamb and soft drinks.

The team said they chose to analyse supermarket transactions instead of asking subjects what they consumed because self-reporting of alcohol and food intake could be unreliable.

'No bias'

They said: "Because we used information on what people buy, and presumably consume, rather than what they eat or drink, it (the study) was not flawed by under-reporting or over-reporting bias."

The research appears to bear out a stereotype of lager louts who get their meals from kebab shops and fast food outlets.

The researchers said earlier studies had suggested that people who drink wine in Denmark tend to have a higher level of education, wealth, psychological functioning and subjective health than those that do not.

An earlier Californian study suggested that those who drank beer tended to be less-educated men who with a higher alcohol intake.

A spokesman for the British Beer and Pub Association said it was not the case that all beer drinkers were not interested in good food.

He said: "The fact that the exclusive London restaurant Le Gavroche has a beer menu and the fact that celebrity chefs Heston Blumenthal, Marco Pierre White and Anthony Worrell Thompson and others have pubs shows they understand that people who drink beer appreciate fine food."

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