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.

 

 

 

 

Many efforts to prevent alcohol-related harm are aimed at reducing risk drinking. This article outlines the many conceptual and methodological challenges to defining risk drinking. It summarizes recent evidence regarding associations of various aspects of alcohol consumption with chronic and acute alcohol-related harms, including mortality, morbidity, injury, and alcohol use disorders, and summarizes the study designs most appropriate to defining risk thresholds for these types of harm. In addition, it presents an international overview of low-risk drinking guidelines from more than 20 countries, illustrating the wide range of interpretations of the scientific evidence related to risk drinking. This article also explores the impact of drink size on defining risk drinking and describes variation in what is considered to be a…
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to see whether levels of alcohol consumption newly included as "moderate" in proposed changes to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are associated with significant levels of alcohol-related harm. METHOD: Using longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults (N = 26,438; 51.8% female), we compared relative risks and population attributable fractions for nine measures of concurrent and eight measures of prospective alcohol-related harm among three groups of drinkers: those whose consumption lay within the old 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans guidelines for moderate drinking, those in the "gray area" of consumption between the 2005 and proposed 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and those who exceeded the proposed 2010 Dietary Guidelines…
AIMS: The main objective of this article was to compare alcohol and tobacco consumption in the US and the Basque Country (the North of Spain) with particular attention to the association between alcohol and tobacco use. The consistency of findings was considered by analyzing data from two different years. These comparisons may provide a rational basis for exploring the associations between alcohol and cigarette use that are influenced by changes in use prevalences. METHODS: Two epidemiological samples from the US, obtained in 1992 and 1996, and two from the Basque Country, obtained in the same years, were used. Sampling methodologies were similar. Questionnaires were self-administrated with the help of interviewers, and were used to define ever smokers, ex-smokers, current smokers,…
Introduction and Aims. If young people are to consume alcohol in accordance with government guidelines, they must possess the relevant knowledge and skills. No previous research has examined correlations between different forms of knowledge of alcohol guidelines or how they are related to personality variables and beliefs. Design and Methods. Two samples were recruited in South-East England: 309 secondary school students aged 16-18, and 125 university students aged 18-25. All participants completed a computer-administered survey of knowledge and beliefs. University students also reported their alcohol consumption and completed tasks in which they poured their 'usual' drinks, and what they believed to be 'units' of alcohol. Results. Most respondents lacked the knowledge and skills required to drink in accordance with government…
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