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.

 

 

 

 

OBJECTIVE: To assess gender and age differences in hazardous drinking and to analyse and compare the factors associated with it in men versus women, and in 50 to 64-year-old versus >/=65-year-old people in Europe. METHODS: Cross-sectional study with data from 65,955 people aged >/=50 years from 18 countries (SHARE project, 2011-2013). The outcome variable, hazardous drinking, was calculated using an adaptation of the AUDIT-C test. Several individual (sociodemographic, life-style and health factors) and contextual variables (country socioeconomic indicators and alcohol policies) were analysed. The prevalence of hazardous drinking was estimated by each exposure variable. To estimate associations, multilevel Poisson regression models with robust variance were fit, yielding prevalence ratios and their 95% confidence intervals (95%CI). RESULTS: Overall, the prevalence of…
BACKGROUND: There is consistent evidence that individuals in higher socioeconomic status groups are more likely to report exceeding recommended drinking limits, but those in lower socioeconomic status groups experience more alcohol-related harm. This has been called the 'alcohol harm paradox'. Such studies typically use standard cut-offs to define heavy drinking, which are exceeded by a large proportion of adults. Our study pools data from six years (2008-2013) of the population-based Health Survey for England to test whether the socioeconomic distribution of more extreme levels of drinking could help explain the paradox. METHODS: The study included 51,498 adults from a representative sample of the adult population of England for a cross-sectional analysis of associations between socioeconomic status and self-reported drinking. Heavy…
BACKGROUND: Pre-drinking has been linked to subsequent heavy drinking and the engagement in multiple risky behaviors. OBJECTIVES: The present study examined a group of adolescents who recently had a "big night out" to determine whether there were differences in their pre-drinking behavior based on age, gender, geographic location, and social setting. METHODS: Participants (n = 351, aged 16-19) representing the heaviest 20-25% of drinkers in their age group were recruited using nonrandom sampling from metropolitan (Melbourne, Sydney, Perth) or regional (Bunbury) locations across Australia and administered a survey by a trained interviewer. RESULTS: Almost half the sample pre-drank (n = 149), most commonly at a friend's house. Those aged 18-19 were more likely to pre-drink, and did so at higher…
BACKGROUND: National estimates on per capita alcohol consumption are provided regularly by various sources and may have validity problems, so corrections are needed for monitoring and assessment purposes. Our objectives were to compare different alcohol availability estimates for Spain, to build the best estimate (actual consumption), characterize its time trend during 2001-2011, and quantify the extent to which other estimates (coverage) approximated actual consumption. METHODS: Estimates were: alcohol availability from the Spanish Tax Agency (Tax Agency availability), World Health Organization (WHO availability) and other international agencies, self-reported purchases from the Spanish Food Consumption Panel, and self-reported consumption from population surveys. Analyses included calculating: between-agency discrepancy in availability, multisource availability (correcting Tax Agency availability by underestimation of wine and cider), actual…
The relation between alcohol consumption and mortality is a J-shaped curve in most of the many studies published on this topic. The Copenhagen Prospective Population Studies demonstrated in the year 2000 that wine intake may have a beneficial effect on all cause mortality that is additive to that of alcohol. Wine contains various poliphenolic substances which may be beneficial for health and in particular flavonols (such as myricetin and quercetin), catechin and epicatechin, proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins, various phenolic acids and the stilbene resveratrol. In particular, resveratrol seems to play a positive effect on longevity because it increases the expression level of Sirt1, besides its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic properties. Moderate wine drinking is part of the Mediterranean diet, together with abundant…

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