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: Fundamental to supporting hazardous alcohol users are the rationales for reducing alcohol intake highlighted by the users themselves. This study analyses the relative importance of beliefs about pros and cons of drinking in relation to having an intention to reduce intake among both hazardous and moderate alcohol users. Methods: Intention to change was assessed in a representative sample of Stockholm's population (n = 4278, response rate 56.5%). Alcohol use was assessed using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test measure. A decisional balance inventory was used to examine various beliefs about the pros and cons of drinking, which covered affect changes, social gains and losses, and possible adverse effects. Independent correlations were determined by logistic regression using a backward exclusion…
AIM: To determine the extent drinking patterns (at the individual and country level) are associated with alcohol-related consequences over and above the total alcohol the person consumes. METHODS: Hierarchical linear models were estimated based on general population surveys conducted in 18 countries participating in the GENACIS project. RESULTS: In general, the positive association between drinking pattern scores and alcohol-related consequences was found at both the individual and country levels, independent of volume of drinking. In addition, a significant interaction effect indicated that the more detrimental the country's drinking pattern, the less steep the association between the volume of drinking and its consequences. CONCLUSION: Drinking patterns have an independent impact on consequences over and above the relationship between volume and consequences.
AIMS: To evaluate differences in the individual alcohol consumption after a community-based prevention programme. DESIGN SETTINGS AND PARTICIPANTS: 'Alcohol, less is better' is a controlled intervention trial. The intervention adopted a community approach, based on the active involvement of community leaders and institutional or volunteer organizations. Between 1999 and 2006, 2.5 years of activities aiming at informing and sensitizing the community on the harmful effects of alcohol on social life and health were carried out in 10 selected small Italian communities, involving a total of 123, 235 individuals. Eight communities were chosen as control group. MEASUREMENTS: Changes in self-reported individual alcohol consumption before and after the intervention were assessed on a random sample of intervention (n = 3382) and control…
BACKGROUND: The health and social impact of drinking in excess of internationally recognized weekly (>21 units in men; >14 units in women) and daily (>4 units in men; >3 units in women) recommendations for 'sensible' alcohol intake are largely unknown. METHODS: A prospective cohort study of 1551 men and women aged around 55 years in 1988 when typical alcohol consumption was recalled using a 7-day grid. An average of 3.4 years later (1990/92), study participants were re-surveyed (n = 1259; 84.7% of the target population) when they responded to nurse-administered enquiries regarding minor psychiatric morbidity, self-perceived health, hypertension, accidents, overweight/obesity and financial difficulties. Study members were followed up for mortality experience over 18 years. RESULTS: In fully adjusted analyses, surpassing…
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