A WOMAN from Tiverton has spoken of her battle with obesity after a report found a direct link between alcohol and excess weight.

Research by Slimming World has revealed that drinking past a personal 'tipping point' leads the average person in the South-West to consume more than 6,000 extra calories.

Hannah Baker, who has lost nearly four stone since joining a Slimming World group at St Andrew's Church, says alcohol contributed to her weight gain.

She said: “The findings of this report definitely ring true for me. You don't have to drink a lot to put on weight - just a few drinks with friends or the odd glass in front of the TV all add up, especially when you think about the post-drinking eating you do too.

“I know before I came to Slimming World if I had a few pints of lager I'd usually end up grabbing something on my way home from a night out like a kebab and chips or start helping myself to a round of toast or tucking into crisps or chocolate.”

The report found that the average tipping point for people in the region is just 10.2 units of alcohol - equivalent to 3.4 large glasses of wine or four pints of beer.

It is the joint highest tipping point in the UK and above the national average tipping point of 9.3 units.

Weight loss expert Katrina Barker, who runs Slimming World groups across Tiverton, says the findings show more must be done to make people aware of the effect drinking alcohol has on their diet, weight and health.

She said: “We tend to think about alcohol in a different way to food. A glass of wine contains the same number of calories as a packet of crisps or a small slice of cake and a pint of bitter has the same calories as a glazed ring doughnut, but for some reason we're less aware.

“Drinks can slip down much more easily and don't satisfy your appetite so it's easy to forget that they're full of calories and, as this research shows, it's not just the drinks you have but the food you consume after drinking too.”

To join a Slimming World group, call Katrina on 01884-32606