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: Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is a more powerful predictor of health services use and mortality than many objective measures of health. However, in older adults the association between main alcohol drinking patterns and HRQOL is uncertain. METHODS: A prospective cohort with 2163 community-dwelling individuals aged >/=60 years was recruited in Spain in 2008-2010 and followed-up through 2012. At baseline, participants reported alcohol consumption. HRQOL was measured with the SF-12 questionnaire, at baseline and in 2012. RESULTS: In cross-sectional analyses at baseline, compared to non-drinkers, better scores on the physical component summary (PCS) of the SF-12 were reported in moderate (beta=1.59 [95% confidence interval 0.61-2.58]) and heavy drinkers (beta=2.18 [0.57-3.79]). Better scores on the PCS were also reported by…
BACKGROUND/AIMS: An appreciation of the drinking patterns of population subgroups may usefully inform tailored interventions. For this purpose, research has highlighted a need to better describe the drinking behaviour of UK women. This study aims to characterise the purchasing and consumption behaviour of female heavy, harmed, drinkers in contact with Scottish health services in two cities and to explore the factors that influence the link to harm. METHODS: Mixed methods study involving cross-sectional survey questionnaires and one-to-one interviews (5). The questionnaires documented (1) demographic data (including derived deprivation score), last week's (or 'typical' weekly) consumption (type, brand, volume, price, place of purchase), self-reported illnesses, and (2) Alcohol-Related Problem Questionnaire score. A total of 181 patients with serious health problems linked…
BACKGROUND: There are limited longitudinal data on the associations between different social contexts of alcohol use and risky adolescent drinking. METHODS: Australian prospective longitudinal cohort of 1943 adolescents with 6 assessment waves at ages 14-17 years. Drinkers were asked where and how frequently they drank. Contexts were: at home with family, at home alone, at a party with friends, in a park/car, or at a bar/nightclub. The outcomes were prevalence and incidence of risky drinking (>/=5 standard drinks (10g alcohol) on a day, past week) and very risky drinking (>20 standard drinks for males and >11 for females) in early (waves 1-2) and late (waves 3-6) adolescence. RESULTS: Forty-four percent (95 % CI: 41-46 %) reported past-week risky drinking on…
AIMS: In Italy, sales data show a dramatic fall in alcohol consumption between 1970 and 2010. The aim of our study is to provide updated information on trends, prevalence and determinants of alcohol drinking in Italy, using individual-level data. METHODS: Seven nationally representative cross-sectional surveys were conducted in Italy between 2006 and 2014, on a total sample of 21,416 participants aged >/=15 years, with available information on weekly consumption of wine, beer and spirits. RESULTS: Per capita alcohol consumption decreased by 23% between 2006 and 2014 (from 5.6 to 4.4 drinks/week), due to the fall in wine drinking. Overall, the prevalence of alcohol drinkers was 61.6%. Individuals predominantly drinking wine were 35.3%, beer 11.1% and spirits 6.4%. A direct trend…
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