28 June 2016 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

The relation between alcohol consumption and mortality is a J-shaped curve in most of the many studies published on this topic. The Copenhagen Prospective Population Studies demonstrated in the year 2000 that wine intake may have a beneficial effect on all cause mortality that is additive to that of alcohol. Wine contains various poliphenolic substances which may be beneficial for health and in particular flavonols (such as myricetin and quercetin), catechin and epicatechin, proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins, various phenolic acids and the stilbene resveratrol. In particular, resveratrol seems to play a positive effect on longevity because it increases the expression level of Sirt1, besides its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic properties. Moderate wine drinking is part of the Mediterranean diet, together with abundant and variable plant foods, high consumption of cereals, olive oil as the main (added) fat and a low intake of (red) meat. This healthy diet pattern involves a "Mediterranean way of drinking," that is a regular, moderate wine consumption mainly with food (up to two glasses a day for men and one glass for women). Moderate wine drinking increases longevity, reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and does not appreciably influence the overall risk of cancer.

28 June 2016 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND: National estimates on per capita alcohol consumption are provided regularly by various sources and may have validity problems, so corrections are needed for monitoring and assessment purposes. Our objectives were to compare different alcohol availability estimates for Spain, to build the best estimate (actual consumption), characterize its time trend during 2001-2011, and quantify the extent to which other estimates (coverage) approximated actual consumption.

METHODS: Estimates were: alcohol availability from the Spanish Tax Agency (Tax Agency availability), World Health Organization (WHO availability) and other international agencies, self-reported purchases from the Spanish Food Consumption Panel, and self-reported consumption from population surveys. Analyses included calculating: between-agency discrepancy in availability, multisource availability (correcting Tax Agency availability by underestimation of wine and cider), actual consumption (adjusting multisource availability by unrecorded alcohol consumption/purchases and alcohol losses), and coverage of selected estimates. Sensitivity analyses were undertaken. Time trends were characterized by joinpoint regression.

RESULTS: Between-agency discrepancy in alcohol availability remained high in 2011, mainly because of wine and spirits, although some decrease was observed during the study period. The actual consumption was 9.5 l of pure alcohol/person-year in 2011, decreasing 2.3 % annually, mainly due to wine and spirits. 2011 coverage of WHO availability, Tax Agency availability, self-reported purchases, and self-reported consumption was 99.5, 99.5, 66.3, and 28.0 %, respectively, generally with downward trends (last three estimates, especially self-reported consumption). The multisource availability overestimated actual consumption by 12.3 %, mainly due to tourism imbalance.

CONCLUSIONS: Spanish estimates of per capita alcohol consumption show considerable weaknesses. Using uncorrected estimates, especially self-reported consumption, for monitoring or other purposes is misleading. To obtain conservative estimates of alcohol-attributable disease burden or heavy drinking prevalence, self-reported consumption should be shifted upwards by more than 85 % (91 % in 2011) of Tax Agency or WHO availability figures. The weaknesses identified can probably also be found worldwide, thus much empirical work remains to be done to improve estimates of per capita alcohol consumption.

28 June 2016 In Cardiovascular System

OBJECTIVES: The preference for a specific alcoholic beverage may be related to an individual's overall lifestyle and health. The objective was to investigate associations between alcoholic beverage preference and several cardiometabolic and lifestyle factors, including adiposity, cholesterol, glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), liver enzymes and dietary patterns.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.

SETTING: The Dutch Longitudinal Nutrition Questionnaires plus (NQplus) Study. PARTICIPANTS: 1653 men and women aged 20-77 years.

METHODS: Diet, including alcohol, was assessed by Food Frequency Questionnaire. Based on the average number of reported glasses of alcoholic beverage, a person was classified as having a preference for beer, wine, spirit/no specific preference, or as a non-consumer. Mixed linear models were used to calculate crude and adjusted means of cardiometabolic and lifestyle factors across alcoholic beverage preference categories.

PRIMARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Anthropometric measures, blood pressure, lipids, HbA1c, albumin, creatinine, uric acid, liver enzymes and dietary patterns.

RESULTS: In the study population, 43% had a wine preference, 13% a beer preference, 29% had a spirit or no specific preference, and 15% did not consume alcohol. Men who preferred wine had lowest measures of adiposity; the preference for alcoholic beverages was not associated with adiposity measures in women. Wine consumers had higher high density lipoprotein-cholesterol, lower HbA1c and were more likely to follow the 'Salad' pattern. Beer consumers had highest levels of triglycerides and liver enzymes, and had higher scores for the 'Meat' and 'Bread' pattern.

CONCLUSIONS: Few differences in dietary patterns across alcoholic beverage preference categories were observed. Those differences in cardiometabolic parameters that were observed according to alcoholic beverage preference, suggested that wine consumers have a better health status than beer consumers.

17 May 2016 In General Health

OBJECTIVE: To update previous meta-analyses of cohort studies that investigated the association between the Mediterranean diet and health status and to utilize data coming from all of the cohort studies for proposing a literature-based adherence score to the Mediterranean diet.

DESIGN: We conducted a comprehensive literature search through all electronic databases up to June 2013.

SETTING: Cohort prospective studies investigating adherence to the Mediterranean diet and health outcomes. Cut-off values of food groups used to compute the adherence score were obtained.

SUBJECTS: The updated search was performed in an overall population of 4 172 412 subjects, with eighteen recent studies that were not present in the previous meta-analyses.

RESULTS: A 2-point increase in adherence score to the Mediterranean diet was reported to determine an 8 % reduction of overall mortality (relative risk = 0.92; 95 % CI 0.91, 0.93), a 10 % reduced risk of CVD (relative risk = 0.90; 95 % CI 0.87, 0.92) and a 4 % reduction of neoplastic disease (relative risk = 0.96; 95 % CI 0.95, 0.97). We utilized data coming from all cohort studies available in the literature for proposing a literature-based adherence score. Such a score ranges from 0 (minimal adherence) to 18 (maximal adherence) points and includes three different categories of consumption for each food group composing the Mediterranean diet.

CONCLUSIONS: The Mediterranean diet was found to be a healthy dietary pattern in terms of morbidity and mortality. By using data from the cohort studies we proposed a literature-based adherence score that can represent an easy tool for the estimation of adherence to the Mediterranean diet also at the individual level.

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