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.

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION AND AIMS: To encourage moderate alcohol consumption, many governments have developed guidelines for alcohol intake, guidelines for alcohol consumption during pregnancy and legislation relating to blood alcohol limits when driving. The aim of this study was to determine the degree of international consensus within such guidelines. DESIGN AND METHODS: Official definitions of standard drinks and consumption guidelines were searched for on government websites, including all 27 European Union Member States and countries from all global geographic regions. RESULTS: There was a remarkable lack of agreement about what constitutes harmful or excessive alcohol consumption on a daily basis, a weekly basis and when driving, with no consensus about the ratios of consumption guidelines for men and women. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS:…
INTRODUCTION AND AIMS: To encourage moderate alcohol consumption, many governments have developed guidelines for alcohol intake, guidelines for alcohol consumption during pregnancy and legislation relating to blood alcohol limits when driving. The aim of this study was to determine the degree of international consensus within such guidelines. DESIGN AND METHODS: Official definitions of standard drinks and consumption guidelines were searched for on government websites, including all 27 European Union Member States and countries from all global geographic regions. RESULTS: There was a remarkable lack of agreement about what constitutes harmful or excessive alcohol consumption on a daily basis, a weekly basis and when driving, with no consensus about the ratios of consumption guidelines for men and women. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS:…
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: To estimate the association between patterns of alcohol consumption and biomarkers of coronary heart disease (CHD) risk. METHODS AND RESULTS: Cross-sectional study among 10,793 individuals representative of the Spanish population aged >/=18 years. The threshold between moderate and heavy drinking was 40 g of alcohol/day in men and 24 g/day in women. Binge drinking was defined as intake of >/=80 g of alcohol in men and >/=60 g in women at any drinking occasion in the preceding 30 days. Analyses were performed with generalized linear models with adjustment for the main confounders, and results were expressed as the percentage change in the geometric mean (PCGM). Compared to non-drinkers, moderate and heavy drinkers had progressively higher serum HDL-cholesterol,…
Moderate alcohol intake has been related to lower mortality. However, alcohol use includes other dimensions beyond the amount of alcohol consumed. These aspects have not been sufficiently studied as a comprehensive entity. We aimed to test the relationship between an overall alcohol-drinking pattern and all-cause mortality. In a Mediterranean cohort study, we followed 18 394 Spanish participants up to 12 years. A validated 136-item FFQ was used to assess baseline alcohol intake. We developed a score assessing simultaneously seven aspects of alcohol consumption to capture the conformity to a traditional Mediterranean alcohol-drinking pattern (MADP). It positively scored moderate alcohol intake, alcohol intake spread out over the week, low spirit consumption, wine preference, red wine consumption, wine consumed during meals and…
BACKGROUND: In most Western countries, alcohol consumption continues to increase, specifically among women and older adults. Insight into these trends may aid intervention strategies. Here we present data on alcohol consumption by age and sex as well as associations between alcohol use and demographic lifestyle/traits. The data are from a large (N>16,000) population-based Dutch sample, ascertained based on the presence of twins in the family. METHODS: A set of 16 indicators of normative and problematic alcohol use was assessed in participants of the Netherlands Twin Register between 2009--2012 (ages 18--97; 6,052 men; 10,535 women). Alcohol consumption and demographic/lifestyle traits, including educational attainment, work-related/financial stress, urbanization, religiousness, smoking/cannabis initiation, and BMI were described by age and sex. Associations were examined by…
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