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 General Health

Alcoholic beverages have been consumed for thousands of years, attracting great human interest for social, personal, and religious occasions. In addition, they have long been debated to confer cardioprotective benefits. The French Paradox is an observation of a low prevalence of ischemic heart disease, with high intakes of saturated fat, a phenomenon accredited to the consumption of red wine.

Although many epidemiological investigations have supported this view, others have attributed it to beer or spirits, with many suggesting that the drink type is not important. Although excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages is commonly regarded to be detrimental to cardiovascular health, there is a debate as to whether light-to-moderate intake is cardioprotective. Although there is extensive epidemiological support for this drinking pattern, a consensus has not been reached.

On the basis of published work, we describe the composition of wine and the effects of constituent polyphenols on chronic cardiovascular diseases

26 February 2019 In Cancer

BACKGROUND: We aimed to understand the factors shaping alcohol consumption patterns in middle-aged women (45-64), and to identify participant-driven population- and policy-level strategies that may be used to addresses alcohol consumption and reduce breast cancer risk.

METHODS: Semi-structured interviews (n = 35) were conducted with 'middle-aged' women conversant in English and living in South Australia with no history of breast cancer diagnosis. Data were deductively coded using a co-developed framework including variables relevant to our study objectives. Women were asked about their current level of awareness of the association between alcohol and breast cancer risk, and their personal recommendations for how to decrease consumption in middle-aged Australian women.

RESULTS: Women discussed their previous efforts to decrease consumption, which we drew on to identify preliminary recommendations for consumption reduction. We identified a low level of awareness of alcohol and breast cancer risk, and confusion related to alcohol as a risk for breast cancer, but not always causing breast cancer. Participants suggested that education and awareness, through various means, may help to reduce consumption.

CONCLUSIONS: Participants' description of strategies used to reduce their own consumption lead us to suggest that campaigns might focus on the more salient and immediate effects of alcohol (e.g. on physical appearance and mental health) rather than longer-term consequences. Critical considerations for messaging include addressing the personal, physical and social pleasures that alcohol provides, and how these may differ across socio-demographics.

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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