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.

 

 

 

 

AIM: The aim of this study was to investigate the utility of a short, practical pouring exercise as a means of illustrating the details of the UK 'Sensible Drinking' guidelines. METHODS: Participants (N = 297, 53% male) recruited at four Edinburgh employment sites, each completed a short non-standardized questionnaire and poured their 'usual measure of wine or spirit' into a glass (purchased from four 'high street' outlets). The actual and estimated unit content of their poured drinks and reactions to feedback were noted. Participants were informed of their daily limit of consumption in terms of this drink. RESULTS: On average, drinks contained 2.05 UK units. Only 27% (N = 79) of respondents estimated the unit content of their drink within…
Early consumption of full servings of alcohol and early experience of drunkenness have been linked with alcohol-related harmful effects in adolescence, as well as adult health and social problems. On the basis of secondary analysis of county-level prevalence data, the present study explored the current pattern of drinking and drunkenness among 15- and 16-year-old adolescents in 40 European and North American countries. Data from the 2006 Health Behavior in School Children survey and the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs were used. The potential role of alcohol control and policy measures in explaining variance in drinking patterns across countries was also examined. Policy measures and data on adult consumption patterns were taken from the WHO Global Information…
Aims: To review the concept of binge drinking as a measure of risky single occasion drinking (RSOD), to illustrate its differential impact on selected health outcomes and to identify research gaps. Methods: Narrative literature review with focus on conceptual and methodological differences, trajectories of RSOD and effects of RSOD on fetal outcomes, coronary heart disease (CHD) and injuries. Results: Effects ascribed commonly to RSOD may often be the effects of an undifferentiated mixture of risky single occasions and regular heavy volume drinking, constituted by frequent, successive RSOD. This leads to the problem that additional risks due to RSOD are mis-specified and remain unidentified or underestimated in some cases, such as for injuries or CHD, but are probably overstated for some…
In light of the World Health Organization's declaration that non-dependent drinking contributes more to the global burden of alcohol-related disease than does drinking by those who meet diagnostic criteria for dependence, this paper argues that clinicians, researchers and decision-makers need to consider microsocial and macrosocial impacts of alcohol use, not just addiction and clinical effects on individuals meeting diagnostic criteria at the extreme high end of the alcohol-use spectrum. It suggests some qualitative dimensions to further define social or low-risk drinking and proposes that all drinking beyond that be described as harmful, because of its impacts on personal, community and population health.
BACKGROUND: Young people aged 10-24 years represent 27% of the world's population. Although important health problems and risk factors for disease in later life emerge in these years, the contribution to the global burden of disease is unknown. We describe the global burden of disease arising in young people and the contribution of risk factors to that burden. METHODS: We used data from WHO's 2004 Global Burden of Disease study. Cause-specific disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) for young people aged 10-24 years were estimated by WHO region on the basis of available data for incidence, prevalence, severity, and mortality. WHO member states were classified into low-income, middle-income, and high-income countries, and into WHO regions. We estimated DALYs attributable to specific global health…
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