OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the present study was to compare the nutrient intake and the nutritional status between German middle-class alcohol consumers and non-drinkers. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study using patients with different stages of alcoholic liver disease (ALD) and healthy volunteers. SETTING: Southern Germany. SUBJECTS: Seventy-six hospitalized German middle-class alcohol consumers with different stages of alcoholic liver disease (ALD) and 22 healthy control subjects. METHODS: Subjects and controls were nutritionally assessed and mineral and vitamin content was measured in blood and urine. RESULTS: When compared with controls, alcohol consumers had significantly higher intakes of total calories, but intake of non-alcoholic calories did not differ between groups (P<0.05). Among drinkers, there was a decrease in percentage of energy derived from protein and fat and a significant increase in carbohydrates (P<0.05). With the exception of vitamin E, micronutrient intake of alcoholics was equal to that of controls; however, blood vitamin (vitamin C, retinol, lycopene, alpha- and gamma-carotene) and trace element (selenium, zinc) concentrations of alcohol-drinking patients were lower than those of non-drinkers. CONCLUSION: From the results of this study it is concluded that in German middle-class male alcohol consumers the status of several micronutrients is disturbed, although dietary intake hardly differs from that in non-alcoholic controls.