Drinking Patterns

Regular moderate wine consumption has been associated with several health benefits in adult individuals. However, the risk increases drastically with each drink above moderation! Drinking more than what is recommended in the guidelines will not provide more benefits, only more harm. This widely accepted association is represented in the J-curve.

 

However, not only the amount but also drinking pattern is believed to be relevant when considering the health aspects of alcoholic beverages. It is better to drink moderately and regularly with the meals than to drink the same amount at a single occasion.


For example,
the data of those who drank alcoholic beverages regularly in Ireland and in France were analysed. In Ireland, beer and spirits are the preferred drinks and most alcohol tends to be consumed on the weekends whereas in France, most of the consumed alcohol comes from wine and it is drunk every day. Comparing these two different drinking cultures, only wine drinking was associated with a lower risk of heart attack and/or stroke after adjusting for confounding factors. No significant risk reduction was found for beer or other alcoholic beverages. The researchers concluded that regular moderate drinking is associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), whereas episodic or binge drinking increases the risk.

 Drinking Pattern N.IrelandvsFrance

Furthermore, they suggest that wine associated drinking behaviour is at least as significant as wine consumption as such.


Diet

Moderate daily consumption of alcoholic beverages, mainly in the form of wine and usually with meals, is considered part of a Mediterranean diet and lifestyle. Growing evidence indicates that the Mediterranean diet (MD) is beneficial to human health. A MD is characterised by a high intake of vegetables, legumes, fruits and nuts, minimally processed cereals, moderately high intake of fish, high intake of olive oil, low-to-moderate intake of dairy products, low intake of meats and a regular but moderate consumption of wine.

 

Many epidemiological and research studies have reported that this diet pattern is able to limit the development and progression of coronary heart disease, the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in both developed and developing countries worldwide. There is now a large consensus about recommending a Mediterranean diet to reduce atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease and to limit the risk of fatal complications such as sudden cardiac death and heart failure.

 

Evidence is also accumulating that wine helps to prevent the development of certain cancers (see cancer). Other studies suggest that elderly people who adhere to a Mediterranean-type diet, including moderate intake of wine and other alcoholic beverages, may be at lower risk for cognitive decline in old age. The researchers explained the effects by the wine's potential role in protecting from brain damage. Traditional Mediterranean foods may also reduce oxidative stress and inflammation which is thought to be involved in Alzheimer's disease.

 

Conformity to the traditional Mediterranean diet may also be associated with lower breast cancer risk among postmenopausal women and could explain, in part, the lower incidence of this disease in Mediterranean countries.

 

Dose

Moderate drinking guidelines are set by governments, so that any potential harm to the human body is minimized and any potential benefit is maximised. Exceptions are young people, combining alcoholic drinks with certain medications, during pregnancy and with a history of addiction. Some guidelines include recommendations to drink with food, to alternate alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks and ‘to pace’ drinking.

Based on available scientific evidence and different references provided by various public health authorities, it is accepted that low-risk moderate consumption ranges between the amounts set out in the guidelines below:

 

Guidelines for low risk moderate consumption:

·         Up to 2 drink units a day for women

·         Up to 3 drink units a day for men

·         No more than 4 drink units on any one occasion.

 

The above summaries provide an overview of the topic, for more details and specific questions, please refer to the articles in the database.

 

 

 

 

BACKGROUND: Alcohol use is a key risk factor for young adult mortality and disease, but limited research has focused on high-risk alcohol use among individuals moving from early young adulthood into building and maintaining an initial structure of adult life. This study estimated the prevalence of a range of alcohol use behaviors among US young adults aged 25/26, examined evidence for historical change in prevalence rates, and estimated associations between alcohol use and key demographic, substance use, and adult social role characteristics. METHODS: Data were obtained from 3542 individuals selected for follow-up from the nationally representative 12th-grade student Monitoring the Future study. Respondents self-reported alcohol use behaviors at age 25/26 during calendar years 2005-2014. RESULTS: Two fifths (39.9%) of young…
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate short-term effects of publishing revised lower risk national drinking guidelines on related awareness and knowledge. To examine where drinkers heard about guidelines over the same period. DESIGN: Trend analysis of the Alcohol Toolkit Study, a monthly repeat cross-sectional national survey. SETTING: England, November 2015 to May 2016. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 11 845 adults (18+) living in private households in England. INTERVENTION: Publication of revised national drinking guidelines in January 2016 which reduced the male guideline by approximately one-third to 14 units per week. MEASUREMENTS: Whether drinkers (1) had heard of drinking guidelines (awareness), (2) stated the guideline was above, exactly or below 14 units (knowledge) and (3) reported seeing the stated guideline number of units in…
AIMS: To study total alcohol consumption and its correlates, with an emphasis on the direction of causality. METHODS: The associations among total alcohol consumption, abstaining, alcohol dependence (AD) and heavy episodic drinking were compared in 29 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries in 2010. RESULTS: Either total alcohol consumption is determined by the number of abstainers and that of alcohol dependents, or the number of alcohol dependents is determined by total alcohol consumption. The number of non-dependent heavy episodic drinkers does not play a role. CONCLUSION: The number of alcohol dependents and abstainers seemingly determines total alcohol consumption and more efforts should be made to reduce AD. SHORT SUMMARY: The associations between total alcohol consumption, abstaining, alcohol dependence…
AIM: To systematically review evidence on the influence of specific marketing components (Price, Promotion, Product attributes and Place of sale/availability) on key drinking outcomes (initiation, continuation, frequency and intensity) in young people aged 9-17. METHODS: MEDLINE, EMBASE, SCOPUS, PsychINFO, CINAHL and ProQuest were searched from inception to July 2015, supplemented with searches of Google Scholar, hand searches of key journals and backward and forward citation searches of reference lists of identified papers. RESULTS: Forty-eight papers covering 35 unique studies met inclusion criteria. Authors tended to report that greater exposure to alcohol marketing impacted on drinking initiation, continuation, frequency and intensity during adolescence. Nevertheless, 23 (66%) studies reported null results or negative associations, often in combination with positive associations, resulting in…
Alcohol consumption frequency and volume are known to be related to health problems among drinkers. Most of the existing literature that analyses regional variation in drinking behaviour uses measures of consumption that relate only to volume, such as 'binge drinking'. This study compares the regional association of alcohol consumption using measures of drinking frequency (daily drinking) and volume (binge drinking) using a nationally representative sample of residents using the Health Survey for England, 2011-2013. Results suggest the presence of two differentiated drinking patterns with relevant policy implications. We find that people in northern regions are more likely to binge drink, whereas people in southern regions are more likely to drink on most days. Regression analysis shows that regional variation in…

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