15 June 2022 In General Health

OBJECTIVES: To test the efficacy of calorie labelling for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages on restaurant menus on noticing calorie information, calorie knowledge, and perceived and actual influence on hypothetical beverage orders.

METHODS: Participants included upper-level university students of legal drinking age residing in Ontario, Canada (n = 283). Using a between-groups experiment, participants were randomized to view one of two menus: (1) No Calorie Information (control), and (2) Calorie Information adjacent to each beverage. Participants completed a hypothetical ordering task, and measures related to noticing calorie information, calorie knowledge, and actual and perceived influence of calorie information on beverages ordered were assessed. Linear, logistic, and multinomial logistic regression models were used to examine the four outcomes.

RESULTS: The odds of noticing calorie information were significantly higher in the Calorie Information (72.6%) versus No Calorie Information condition (8.0%) (OR = 43.7, 95% CI: 16.8, 113.8). Compared to those in the No Calorie Information condition, participants in the Calorie Information condition had significantly lower odds of responding 'Don't know' (OR = 0.04, 95% CI: 0.02, 0.09), underestimating (OR = 0.06, 95% CI: 0.02, 0.2), and overestimating (OR = 0.05, 95% CI: 0.02, 0.2) versus accurately estimating calories in beverages ordered. No significant differences were observed between menu labelling conditions in the calories in beverages ordered or the perceived influence of calorie information on the number of beverages ordered.

CONCLUSION: Exposure to menus with calorie information increased consumers noticing the calorie information, and accurately estimating calories in alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages ordered. These results have implications for policy-makers considering mandatory menu labelling policy inclusive of alcoholic beverages.

15 June 2022 In Drinking Patterns

AIMS: To examine the association of alcohol consumption patterns with growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15) in older drinkers, separately among individuals with cardiovascular disease (CVD)/diabetes and those without them, as GDF-15 is a strong biomarker of chronic disease burden.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETTING: Population-based study in Madrid (Spain). PARTICIPANTS: A total of 2051 life-time drinkers aged 65+ years included in the Seniors-ENRICA-2 study in 2015-17. Participants' mean age was 71.4 years and 55.4% were men.

MEASUREMENTS: According to their average life-time alcohol intake, participants were classified as occasional ( 1.43-20 g/day; women: > 1.43-10 g/day), moderate-risk (men: > 20-40 g/day; women: > 10-20 g/day) and high-risk drinkers (men: > 40 g/day; women: > 20 g/day; or binge drinkers). We also ascertained wine preference (> 80% of alcohol derived from wine), drinking with meals and adherence to a Mediterranean drinking pattern (MDP) defined as low-risk drinking, wine preference and one of the following: drinking only with meals; higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet; or any of these.

FINDINGS: In participants without CVD/diabetes, GDF-15 increased by 0.27% [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.06%, 0.48%] per 1 g/day increment in alcohol among high-risk drinkers, but there was no clear evidence of association in those with lower intakes or in the overall group, or across categories of alcohol consumption status. Conversely, among those with CVD/diabetes, GDF-15 rose by 0.19% (95% CI = 0.05%, 0.33%) per 1 g/day increment in the overall group and GDF-15 was 26.89% (95% CI = 12.93%, 42.58%) higher in high-risk versus low-risk drinkers. Drinking with meals did not appear to be related to GDF-15, but among those without CVD/diabetes, wine preference and adherence to the MDP were associated with lower GDF-15, especially when combined with high adherence to the Mediterranean diet.

CONCLUSIONS: Among older life-time drinkers in Madrid, Spain, high-risk drinking was positively associated with growth differentiation factor 15 (a biomarker of chronic disease burden). There was inconclusive evidence of a beneficial association for low-risk consumption.

15 June 2022 In Drinking Patterns

This review discusses the inconsistent recommendations on alcohol consumption and its association with chronic disease, highlighting the need for an evidence-based consensus. Alcohol is an addictive substance consumed worldwide, especially in European countries. Recommendations on alcohol consumption are controversial. On one hand, many nonrandomized studies defend that moderate consumption has a beneficial cardiovascular effect or a lower risk of all-cause mortality. On the other hand, alcohol is associated with an increased risk of cancer, neurological diseases, or injuries, among others. For years, efforts have been made to answer the question regarding the safe amount of alcohol intake, but controversies remain. Observational studies advocate moderate alcohol consumption following a Mediterranean pattern (red wine with meals avoiding binge drinking) as the best option for current drinkers. However, agencies such as the IARC recommend abstention from alcohol as it is a potent carcinogen. In this context, more randomized trial with larger sample size and hard clinical endpoints should be conducted to clarify the available evidence and provide clinicians with support for their clinical practice.

28 April 2022 In General Health

This work aimed to relate alcohol consumption with adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MD) and with food neophobia (FN) among Italian and Spanish university students. Volunteers (n = 194, 108 Italian and 86 Spanish), recruited at the La Sapienza University of Rome and the Catholic University of Murcia, filled in standardized questionnaires to evaluate alcohol consumption (AUDIT), FN (FN Scale: FNS), and adherence to the MD (MDS-14, MED-55, QueMD).

In addition to the previously reported QueMD sub-score (aMED), a sub-score for non-typical MD foods (ntMED, carbonated and/or sugar-sweetened beverages (soft drinks), butter, margarine, or cooking cream, and manufactured sweets, pastries, and cakes) was evaluated. Italian females had higher MED-55 and FNS scores, and a lower AUDIT score than Spaniards (p < 0.01). Students who stayed with their family (resident) were more adherent to MD than those who moved away from home. Resident Italians consumed less beer, hard liquors, and cocktails than Spaniards on Saturday nights (p < 0.01).

There were negative correlations between AUDIT and QueMD (R squared: 0.137, p < 0.05), and AUDIT and ntMED (R squared: 0.201, p < 0.01) in Spaniards, however, there was no relationship between AUDIT and other MD scores. In conclusion, this pilot study suggests that non-typical MD foods and Saturday night consumptions, related to being far from home, have a great impact on alcohol consumption.

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