23 November 2022 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Alcohol is a discretionary, energy dense, dietary component. Compared to non-drinkers, people who consume alcohol report higher total energy intake and may be at increased risk of weight gain, overweight, and obesity, which are key preventable risk factors for illness. However, accurate consumer knowledge of the energy content in alcohol is low. To inform future behaviour change interventions among drinkers, this study investigated individual characteristics associated with changing alcohol consumption due to energy-related concerns.

METHODS: An online survey was undertaken with 801 Australian adult drinkers (18-59 years, 50.2% female), i.e. who consumed alcohol at least monthly. In addition to demographic and health-related characteristics, participants reported past-year alcohol consumption, past-year reductions in alcohol consumption, frequency of harm minimisation strategy use (when consuming alcohol), and frequency of changing alcohol consumption behaviours because of energy-related concerns.

RESULTS: When prompted, 62.5% of participants reported changing alcohol consumption for energy-related reasons at least 'sometimes'. Women, those aged 30-44 years, metropolitan residents, those with household income $80,001-120,000, and risky/more frequent drinkers had increased odds of changing consumption because of energy-related concerns, and unemployed respondents had reduced odds.

CONCLUSIONS: Results indicate that some sociodemographic groups are changing alcohol consumption for energy-related reasons, but others are not, representing an underutilised opportunity for health promotion communication. Further research should investigate whether messaging to increase awareness of alcohol energy content, including through systems-based policy actions such as nutritional/energy product labelling, would motivate reduced consumption across a broader range of drinkers.

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.

25 August 2020 In Phenolic compounds

BACKGROUND: Few studies have investigated the effect of dietary polyphenols on the complex human gut microbiota, and they focused mainly on single polyphenol molecules and select bacterial populations.

OBJECTIVE: The objective was to evaluate the effect of a moderate intake of red wine polyphenols on select gut microbial groups implicated in host health benefits.

DESIGN: Ten healthy male volunteers underwent a randomized, crossover, controlled intervention study. After a washout period, all of the subjects received red wine, the equivalent amount of de-alcoholized red wine, or gin for 20 d each. Total fecal DNA was submitted to polymerase chain reaction(PCR)-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and real-time quantitative PCR to monitor and quantify changes in fecal microbiota. Several biochemical markers were measured.

RESULTS: The dominant bacterial composition did not remain constant over the different intake periods. Compared with baseline, the daily consumption of red wine polyphenol for 4 wk significantly increased the number of Enterococcus, Prevotella, Bacteroides, Bifidobacterium, Bacteroides uniformis, Eggerthella lenta, and Blautia coccoides-Eubacterium rectale groups (P < 0.05). In parallel, systolic and diastolic blood pressures and triglyceride, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and C-reactive protein concentrations decreased significantly (P < 0.05). Moreover, changes in cholesterol and C-reactive protein concentrations were linked to changes in the bifidobacteria number.

CONCLUSION: This study showed that red wine consumption can significantly modulate the growth of select gut microbiota in humans, which suggests possible prebiotic benefits associated with the inclusion of red wine polyphenols in the diet. This trial was registered at controlled-trials.com as ISRCTN88720134

05 December 2018 In General Health

Evidence on the relationship between alcohol consumption and body mass index (BMI) is mixed, particularly for young adults. This study explored the relationship between energy obtained from alcoholic beverages and BMI using data for 18(-)25 year-olds (n = 7691) from pooled cross-sections of the 2008(-)2014 Health Survey for England and the Scottish Health Survey. Energy obtained from alcoholic beverages (excluding mixers) on the heaviest drinking day in the past week was expressed as percentage of total recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of energy (% RDA Energy). Linear regressions were estimated of BMI on alcohol intake categories controlling for intake frequency, physical activity, longstanding illness and other covariates, with separate analyses for men and women, and by beverage type. Significant associations with BMI were observed with the 'Very High' category of alcohol intake (>75% RDA Energy) for men (p < 0.001, 1.74, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.98, 2.49) and with the "High" (>50% to 75% RDA Energy) (p < 0.001, 1.67, 95% CI 0.26, 2.58) and above category for women, when compared with the Low (>0(-)25% RDA Energy) category. Young adults drinking the highest levels of alcohol on a single occasion were more likely to be obese than those with the lowest intake. Interventions to address internationally rising youth obesity rates should also consider reducing alcohol consumption by increasing alcohol prices, and reducing availability and marketing exposure.

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