Drinking with meals makes you fat

This is not true if you drink water. If you drink something else it may be a different matter. It is not the act of drinking that is important, but the amount of energy (kilojoules) in the drink.

Water has no kilojoules. By drinking water we may actually displace kilojoules we might have otherwise got from food or other drinks. Having had more to drink we may sometimes feel distended, but this is not being fat!

Drinking fruit juice, soft drinks or alcoholic beverages adds energy (kilojoules) to our diet. It is easier to drink fruit juice than eat the parent fruit! Most soft drinks have about 10 to 11 grams of carbohydrate per 100 mi providing about 170 to 190 kilojoules (40 to 44 kilocalories) or 450 kilojoules per glass. Soft drinks made using artificial sweeteners have only a very small fraction of this energy.

Pure alcohol (ethanol) has 29 kilojoules (7 kilocalories) per gram. Therefore the energy obtained from alcoholic drinks will depend on the amount of alcohol in it, the amount consumed and the amount of sugar. For example, an average glass of sweet fortified wine like sweet sherry has 340 kilojoules; dry white wine, 275 kilojoules, and beer 396 kilojoules.

The importance of having alcoholic drinks with food is that one is inclined to drink less when eating, and the food slows the absorption of ethanol, so that it has less of an immediate effect.