26 February 2019 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

Low-risk thresholds for alcohol use differ across various national guidelines. To assess the novel WHO risk drinking levels in light of alcohol-sensitive common laboratory tests, we analysed biomarkers of liver status, inflammation and lipid profiles from a population-based survey of individuals classified to abstainers and different WHO risk drinking levels defined in terms of mean alcohol consumption per day. The study included 22,327 participants aged 25-74 years from the National FINRISK Study. Data on alcohol use, health status, diet, body weight and lifestyle (smoking, coffee consumption and physical activity) were recorded from structured interviews. Alcohol data from self-reports covering the past 12 months were used to categorize the participants into subgroups of abstainers and WHO risk drinking categories representing low, moderate, high and very high risk drinkers. Serum liver enzymes (GGT, ALT), C-reactive protein (CRP) and lipid profiles were measured using standard laboratory techniques. Alcohol risk category was roughly linearly related with the occurrence of elevated values for GGT, ALT and CRP. Alcohol drinking also significantly influenced the incidence of abnormalities in serum lipids. Significantly higher odds for abnormal GGT, ALT and altered lipid profiles remained in alcohol drinkers even after adjustment for age, waist circumference, physical inactivity, smoking and coffee consumption. A more systematic use of laboratory tests during treatment of individuals classified to WHO risk drinking categories may improve the assessment of alcohol-related health risks. Follow-ups of biomarker responses may also prove to be useful in health interventions aimed at reducing alcohol consumption.

26 February 2019 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

Background: Alcohol-induced hangover constitutes a significant, yet understudied, global hazard and a large socio-economic burden. Old folk wisdoms such as "Beer before wine and you'll feel fine; wine before beer and you'll feel queer" exist in many languages. However, whether these concepts in fact reduce hangover severity is unclear.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of the combination and order of beer and wine consumption on hangover intensity. Methods: In this multiarm, parallel randomized controlled matched-triplet crossover open-label interventional trial, participants were matched into triplets and randomly assigned according to age, gender, body composition, alcohol drinking habits, and hangover frequency. Study group 1 consumed beer up to a breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) >/=0.05% and then wine to BrAC >/=0.11% (vice versa for study group 2). Control group subjects consumed either only beer or only wine. On a second intervention day (crossover) >/=1 wk later, study-group subjects were switched to the opposite drinking order. Control-group subjects who drank only beer on the first intervention received only wine on the second study day (and vice versa). Primary endpoint was hangover severity assessed by Acute Hangover Scale rating on the day following each intervention. Secondary endpoints were factors associated with hangover intensity.

Results: Ninety participants aged 19-40 y (mean age 23.9), 50% female, were included (study group 1 n = 31, study group 2 n = 31, controls n = 28). Neither type nor order of consumed alcoholic beverages significantly affected hangover intensity (P > 0.05). Multivariate regression analyses revealed perceived drunkenness and vomiting as the strongest predictors for hangover intensity.

Conclusions: Our findings dispel the traditional myths "Grape or grain but never the twain" and "Beer before wine and you'll feel fine; wine before beer and you'll feel queer" regarding moderate-to-severe alcohol intoxication, whereas subjective signs of progressive intoxication were confirmed as accurate predictors of hangover severity. This trial was prospectively registered at the Witten/Herdecke University Ethics Committee as 140/2016 and retrospectively registered at the German Clinical Trials Register as DRKS00015285

 

Reference/Source

Kochling,J.; Geis,B.; Wirth,S.; Hensel,K.O.

Grape or grain but never the twain? A randomized controlled multiarm matched-triplet crossover trial of beer and wine

Am.J Clin.Nutr, 2019, 109,2: 345-352.

22 February 2019 In Liver Disease

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the longitudinal relationship between repeated measures of alcohol consumption and risk of developing fatty liver.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: This study includes 5407 men and women from a British population-based cohort, the Whitehall II study of civil servants, who self-reported alcohol consumption by questionnaire over approximately 30 years (1985-1989 through to 2012-2013). Drinking typologies during midlife were linked to measures of fatty liver (the fatty liver index, FLI) when participants were in older age (age range 60-84 years) and adjusted for age, socio-economic position, ethnicity, and smoking.

RESULTS: Those who consistently drank heavily had two-fold higher odds of increased FLI compared to stable low-risk moderate drinkers after adjustment for covariates (men: OR = 2.04, 95%CI = 1.53-2.74; women: OR = 2.24, 95%CI = 1.08-4.55). Former drinkers also had an increased FLI compared to low-risk drinkers (men: OR = 2.09, 95%CI = 1.55-2.85; women: OR = 1.68, 95%CI = 1.08-2.67). There were non-significant differences in FLI between non-drinkers and stable low-risk drinkers. Among women, there was no increased risk for current heavy drinkers in cross sectional analyses.

CONCLUSION: Drinking habits among adults during midlife affect the development of fatty liver, and sustained heavy drinking is associated with an increased FLI compared to stable low-risk drinkers. After the exclusion of former drinkers, there was no difference between non-drinkers and low-risk drinkers, which does not support a protective effect on fatty liver from low-risk drinking. Cross-sectional analyses among women did not find an increased risk of heavy drinking compared to low-risk drinkers, thus highlighting the need to take a longitudinal approach.

22 February 2019 In General Health

We estimated calorie intake from alcohol in Canada, overall and by gender, age, and province, and provide evidence to advocate for mandatory alcohol labelling requirements. Annual per capita (aged 15+) alcohol sales data in litres of pure ethanol by beverage type were taken from Statistics Canada's CANSIM database and converted into calories. The apportionment of consumption by gender, age, and province was based on data from the Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Survey. Estimated energy requirements (EER) were from Canada's Food Guide. The average drinker consumed 250 calories, or 11.2% of their daily EER in the form of alcohol, with men (13.3%) consuming a higher proportion of their EER from alcohol than women (8.2%). Drinkers consumed more than one-tenth of their EER from alcohol in all but one province. By beverage type, beer contributes 52.7% of all calories derived from alcohol, while wine (20.8%); spirits (19.8%); and ciders, coolers, and other alcohol (6.7%) also contribute substantially. The substantial caloric impact of alcoholic drinks in the Canadian diet suggests that the addition of caloric labelling on these drinks is a necessary step.

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