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.


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: Reducing harm in drinking environments is a growing priority for European alcohol policy yet few studies have explored nightlife drinking behaviours. This study examines alcohol consumption and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in drinking environments in four European cities. METHODS: A short questionnaire was implemented among 838 drinkers aged 16-35 in drinking environments in four European cities, in the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and the UK. Questions included self-reported alcohol use before interview and expected consumption over the remainder of the night. Breathalyser tests were used to measured breath alcohol concentration (converted to BAC) at interview. RESULTS: Most participants in the Dutch (56.2%), Spanish (59.6%) and British (61.4%) samples had preloaded (cf Slovenia 34.8%). In those drinking < 3 h at…
OBJECTIVE: Alcohol abuse remains one of the most serious substance abuse disorders in South African society, resulting in inordinately large social, economic and health problems at all levels of society. Alcohol consumers in South Africa are estimated to drink 16.6L per annum with a per capita consumption of 7.1L. South Africa has one of the highest rates of death attributable to crime, violence, traffic accidents, and HIV/AIDS in the world. These rates have been directly related to the high prevalence of alcohol abuse and risky drinking patterns. A food-based dietary guideline that encourages alcohol consumption would appear to be not in the nation's best interest. METHODS: We conducted a search of websites supported by the World Health Organization to find…
BACKGROUND: Studies have found a positive effect of low/moderate alcohol consumption on wages. This has often been explained by referring to epidemiological research showing that alcohol has protective effects on certain diseases, i.e., the health link is normally justified using selected epidemiological information. Few papers have tested this link between alcohol and health explicitly, including all diseases where alcohol has been shown to have either a protective or a detrimental effect. AIM: Based on the full epidemiological information, we study the effect of low alcohol consumption on health, in order to determine if it is reasonable to explain the positive effect of low consumption on wages using the epidemiological literature. METHODS: We apply a non-econometrical cost-of-illness approach to calculate the…
Introduction and Aims: In response to increasing concerns about excessive drinking among young people the Australian alcohol industry announced that it will introduce more visible standard drink labels. This study sought to examine whether young people use this information in a way that decreases, or increases, alcohol-related harms. Design and Methods: Six focus groups with students enrolled in an undergraduate university course in a large regional city in New South Wales, recruited by direct approach on the university grounds and via an online message posted on the university bulletin board. Results: The majority of the participants reported that they are aware of the existence of standard drink labelling; notice standard drink labels; and take these into account when choosing what…
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