Drinking & Eating 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.


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.



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.





The aim of the present study was to explore the association between family functioning, coping strategies, peer influences and alcohol use among Italian adolescents. Nine hundred and sixty-three Italian adolescents, aged from 14 to 17 years, completed self-report measures assessing alcohol use, family functioning, and coping strategies. According to previous research, adolescents were categorized into non-drinkers, social, binge and heavy drinkers. Results showed that adolescents belonging to groups characterized by alcohol misuse differ in terms of coping strategies, family functioning dimensions, and typology of friends. In particular, heavy drinkers appeared to have more friends who drink alcohol on a regular basis and they were younger when started to drink on a regular basis than other drinking groups. Moreover, discriminant function…
Introduction and Aims: The majority view among alcohol epidemiologists is that the lower coronary heart disease mortality observed in moderate drinkers is probably evidence for a protective effect of moderate drinking. In this paper I critically discuss the debate about what type of information, if any, should be provided to the public about the putative coronary heart disease benefits of moderate alcohol use. Results: Most opposition to informing the public about these putative benefits is based on the fear that such advice will increase per capita alcohol consumption and therefore alcohol-related harm. It is unclear how well-based these concerns are. In the interim, the alcohol industry has communicated these putative benefits to the public. Conclusions: There is a case for…
BACKGROUND: Little evidence exists on whether beverage-specific alcohol availability is associated with beverage-specific consumption. We longitudinally examined whether the number and change in number of beer, wine, and liquor outlets near one's home are associated with alcohol consumption by beverage type. METHODS: The study population consisted of 28,074 women and 6,639 men of the Finnish Public Sector Study who reported their alcohol use at baseline (in 2004/2005) and follow-up (in 2008/2009). The coordinates of their residence and alcohol outlets during the study period were obtained from national registers. Associations of the number and change in the number of beer, wine, and liquor outlets with beer, wine, and liquor consumption were analyzed using 2-level cumulative logistic regression adjusted for individual- and…
AIMS: To analyse the effects of age, period and cohort (APC) on light and binge drinking in the general population of Finland over the past 40 years. METHODS: All analyses were based on six Drinking Habits Surveys between 1968 and 2008 of representative samples of the Finnish population aged between 15 and 69 (n = 16,400). The number of drinking occasions per year involving 1-2 drinks (light) and 4+ or 6+ drinks (binges) was used as a dependent variable in APC modelling. Descriptive cohort profiles and negative binomial models were used to assess the effects of APC. RESULTS: Descriptive cohort profiles differed for light and binge drinking. No substantial differences were found across cohort profiles for light drinking, while APC…
AIM: The aim of this study was to argue that recommendations to the general public on daily amounts for low-risk alcohol consumption must retain the word 'regular' in order to avoid being rejected. METHOD: Narrative review of the evidence-base for daily limits to alcohol consumption, the guidance the public actually receives in the UK and media reactions to this guidance. RESULTS: Evidence for daily limits (not more than 3-4 units for men and 2-3 units for women) rests on epidemiological surveys that enquire about 'average' or 'usual' amounts of consumption and this is reflected by the use of 'regular' or 'consistent' in the UK Government's Sensible Drinking report in 1995 and in guidance currently issued by the English Department of…
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