Dr. Jose Lorenzo Valencia-Martin of the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid says excessive drinking and an unbalanced diet are two preventable contributors to health problems.
"Drinking alcohol may reduce maintaining a healthy diet, leading to adverse metabolic effects which in turn add to those directly produced by alcohol," Valencia-Martin says in a statement.
"The specific influence of alcohol on diet may depend upon the overall quantity of alcohol ingested, frequency of consumption, beverage preference and whether alcohol intake takes place during the meals."
Valencia-Martin and colleagues carried out a telephone survey of 12,037 adults -- 5,850 men and 6,187 women -- considered representative of those ages 18-64 in the Madrid region from 2000 to 2005.
"Our results show that drinking at mealtimes is associated with insufficient intake of healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and with excessive intake of animal protein," Valencia-Martin says.
The findings are published online ahead of print of the November issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.