23 November 2022 In General Health

This review summarises the evidence on the impact of serving and container size on how much people drink, interventions that have the potential to reduce alcohol consumption across populations, thereby improving health. A rapid search identified 10 published reports of 15 studies and 1 review. Four studies focused on serving size, eight studies and the review on glass size, two studies on bottle size and one on both glass and bottle size. Twelve studies and the review focused on wine, one study on beer and two on both. All were conducted in England, by just two research groups. Removing the largest serving size of wine decreased wine sales by 7.6% (95% CI -12.3%, -2.9%) in a study in 21 licenced premises, reflecting findings from two prior studies in semi-naturalistic settings. Adding a serving size for beer that was a size smaller than the largest was assessed in one study in 13 licenced premises, with no evident effect. Reducing the size of wine glasses in restaurants decreased wine sales by 7.3% (95% CI -13.5%, -1.5%) in a mega-analysis of eight datasets from studies in five licensed premises. Using smaller wine glasses at home may also reduce consumption, but the evidence from just one study is less certain. No studies have assessed the impact of glass size for drinking beer. The effect of bottles smaller than the standard 750 mL on wine consumed at home was assessed in two studies: 500 mL bottles reduced consumption by 4.5% (95% CI -7.9%, -1.0%) in one study, but in another, using 375 mL bottles there was no evident effect. No studies assessed the impact of bottle or other container size for drinking beer. Reducing the size of servings, glasses and bottles could reduce wine consumption across populations. The impact of similar interventions for reducing consumption of other alcoholic drinks awaits evaluation. Further studies are also warranted to assess the generalisability of existing evidence.

23 November 2022 In General Health

Atherosclerosis is the underlying cause of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and is interrelated to stroke, heart attack, and heart failure. The Mediterranean Diet (MedDiet) has been closely associated with reduced CVD morbidity and mortality, but research is not well explored for this relationship in individuals with diabetes (who experience greater CVD morbidity and mortality than individuals without diabetes). The aim of this review was to explore the literature related to the MedDiet and atherosclerosis and associated risk factors in individuals with and without diabetes. In total, 570 articles were identified, and 36 articles were included. The articles were published between 2011 and 2021. Platforms used for the search were PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane Library, and ProQuest. Our literature search included clinical and observational studies. Clinical studies revealed the MedDiet was associated with improved biomarkers, plaque, and anthropometric measurements that are associated with atherosclerosis and CVD. Observational studies identified associations between the MedDiet and lower presence of atherosclerosis, improved vascular aging, and increased endothelial progenitor cells. However, most of the studies took place in Mediterranean countries. Further research is needed to better understand the long-term effects the MedDiet on atherosclerosis and its associated risk factors in diverse populations to include individuals with and without diabetes.

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.

23 November 2022 In Drinking Patterns

Although excessive alcohol consumption is a highly prevalent public health problem the data on the associations between alcohol consumption and health outcomes in individuals preferring different types of alcoholic beverages has remained unclear. We examined the relationships between the amounts and patterns of drinking with the data on laboratory indices of liver function, lipid status and inflammation in a national population-based health survey (FINRISK). Data on health status, alcohol drinking, types of alcoholic beverages preferred, body weight, smoking, coffee consumption and physical activity were recorded from 22,432 subjects (10,626 men, 11,806 women), age range 25-74 years. The participants were divided to subgroups based on the amounts of regular alcohol intake (abstainers, moderate and heavy drinkers), patterns of drinking (binge or regular) and the type of alcoholic beverage preferred (wine, beer, cider or long drink, hard liquor or mixed). Regular drinking was found to be more typical in wine drinkers whereas the subjects preferring beer or hard liquor were more often binge-type drinkers and cigarette smokers. Alcohol use in all forms was associated with increased frequencies of abnormalities in the markers of liver function, lipid status and inflammation even at rather low levels of consumption. The highest rates of abnormalities occurred, however, in the subgroups of binge-type drinkers preferring beer or hard liquor. These results demonstrate that adverse consequences of alcohol occur even at moderate average drinking levels especially in individuals who engage in binge drinking and in those preferring beer or hard liquor. Further emphasis should be placed on such patterns of drinking in policies aimed at preventing alcohol-induced adverse health outcomes.

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