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.

 

 

 

 

Binge drinking represents a major clinical and public health concern. Here, we investigated the prevalence of binge drinking and its related consequences, in a population of young adults. A questionnaire was administered to a sample of 4275 healthy subjects. In the overall sample, the percentage of binge drinkers was 67.6 per cent; among regular alcohol users, 79.5 per cent reported episodes of binge drinking. Among binge drinkers, several serious consequences were identified (staggering and stuttering, amnesia, loss of control, aggressiveness, sexual disinhibition). Raising awareness about the seriousness of binge drinking may help health care providers to identify cases early on and provide appropriate treatments.
BACKGROUND: Heavy drinking is a major factor in morbidity and mortality worldwide. Little information is available on trends in Canada regarding alcohol abuse. We sought to estimate abstinence, binge drinking and alcohol intake exceeding low-risk drinking guidelines in the Canadian population from 1996 to 2013. METHODS: The data sources for this analysis were a series of cross-sectional national health surveys of the Canadian population carried out by Statistics Canada between 1996 and 2013. These were cross-sectional files from the National Population Health Surveys of 1996 and 1998, plus the Canadian Community Health Surveys from 2000 to 2013. Respondents were aged 18 years and older. RESULTS: The proportion of binge drinkers increased steadily from 13.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] 13.2%-14.2%) in…
PURPOSE: We seek answers to three questions about adolescent risk of starting to drink alcoholic beverages: (1) in new United States (US) data, can we reproduce a recently discovered female excess risk? (2) has a female excess risk emerged in European countries? and (3) might the size of country-level female-male differences (FMD) be influenced by macro-level gender equality and development processes? METHODS: Estimates are from US and European surveys of adolescents, 2010-2014. For US estimates, newly incident drinking refers to consuming the first full drink during the 12-month interval just prior to assessment. For all countries, lifetime cumulative incidence of drinking refers to any drinking before assessment of the sampled 15-16 years. RESULTS: Cumulative meta-analysis summary estimates from the US…
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…

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