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.

 

 

 

 

OBJECTIVE: A 14-year multiwave panel design was used to examine relationships between longitudinal alcohol-consumption patterns, especially persistent moderate use, and change in health-related quality of life among middle-aged and older adults. METHOD: A nationally representative sample of 5,404 community-dwelling Canadians ages 50 and older at baseline (1994/1995) was obtained from the longitudinal National Population Health Survey. Alcohol-consumption patterns were developed based on the quantity and frequency of use in the 12 months before the interview. Health-related quality of life was assessed with the Health Utilities Index Mark 3 (HUI3). Latent growth curve modeling was used to estimate the change in HUI3 for each alcohol pattern after adjusting for covariates measured at baseline. RESULTS: Most participants showed stable alcohol-consumption patterns over…
Introduction and Aims: For consumers to follow drinking guidelines and limit their risk of negative consequences they need to track their ethanol consumption. This paper reviews published research on the ability of consumers to utilise information about the alcohol content of beverages when expressed in different forms, for example in standard drinks or units versus percentage alcohol content. Design and Methods: A review of the literature on standard drink definitions and consumer understanding of these, actual drink pouring, use of standard drinks in guidelines and consumer understanding and use of these. Results. Standard drink definitions vary across countries and typically contain less alcohol than actual drinks. Drinkers have difficulty defining and pouring standard drinks with over-pouring being the norm such…
BACKGROUND: Alcohol consumption has the potential to affect dietary intakes of nutrients; however, little is known about fatty acid intakes among alcohol consumers in the U.S. population. METHOD: We examined the relation between self-reported alcohol consumption and dietary fatty acid intake in 4,168 adults in the cross-sectional National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2002. Fatty acid intake was determined from a single, interviewer-administered 24-hour recall. The adjusted, weighted mean level of dietary fatty acid intakes, as characterized by nutrient density, was calculated as grams of fatty acid per 1,000 kcal of energy consumed according to average daily alcohol consumption and binge-drinking episodes. RESULTS: Energy intake showed a significant increasing trend across alcohol consumption categories in both genders and binge-drinking categories…
Objective: Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with both positive and negative health effects. This study aims to estimate the positive and negative consequences on mortality, years of potential life (YPL), quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), resource utilization, and societal costs attributable to moderate alcohol consumption in Germany in 2002. Methods: The concept of attributable risks and a prevalence-based approach was used to calculate age- and sex-specific alcohol attributable mortality and resource utilization for a wide range of disorders, and avoided mortality and resource utilization for diabetes mellitus, coronary heart disease, stroke, and cholelithiasis. The literature provided prevalence of moderate alcohol consumption in Germany by age and sex and relative risks. Direct costs were calculated using routine utilization and expenditure statistics. Indirect costs…
Risky single-occasion drinking (RSOD) is more common in late adolescence and early adulthood (approximately between the ages of 16 and 30) than in any other period in life. This is also the age when young people in Switzerland and many other European countries are legally allowed to buy and drink alcohol, but they usually do not yet have adult responsibilities. This paper reviews evidence from the international literature and provides examples of studies conducted in Switzerland demonstrating that (a) RSOD is by far most prevalent on Saturday evenings followed by Friday evenings, usually because young people go out and do not have any work or study responsibilities the next day; (b) RSOD results from drinking in private before going out…
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