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.

05 December 2018 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Alcohol intake is widely assumed to contribute to excess body fatness, especially among young men; however, the evidence is inconsistent. We have addressed this research question by investigating associations between reported alcohol consumption and body composition from large representative national surveys in a high alcohol-consuming country with a high obesity prevalence.

METHODS: The present study comprised a secondary analysis of combined cross-sectional nationally representative Scottish Health Surveys (1995-2010). Reported alcohol-drinking frequency was divided into five groups: from 'nonfrequent drinking' (reference) to daily/'almost every day' among 35 837 representative adults [mean (SD) age: 42.7 (12.7) years (range 18-64 years)]. Quantitative alcohol consumption was categorised into seven groups: from '1-7 to >/=50 10 g units per week'. Regression models against measured body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) were adjusted for age, physical activity, income, smoking, deprivation category and economic status.

RESULTS: Among alcohol-consuming men, heavier drinking (21-28 units per week) was associated with a higher BMI by +1.4 kg m(-2) [95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.38-1.43] and higher WC by +3.4 cm (95% CI = 3.2-3.6) than drinking 1-7 units per week. However, those who reported daily drinking frequency were associated with a lower BMI by -2.45 kg m(-2) (95% CI = -2.4 to -2.5) and lower WC by -3.7 cm (95% CI = -3.3 to -4.0) than those who reported less-frequent drinking. Similar associations were found for women. Most of these associations were restricted to subjects aged >30 years. Unexplained variances in BMI and WC are large.

CONCLUSIONS: Quantitative alcohol consumption and frequency of consumption were positively and inversely associated, respectively, with both BMI and WC among alcohol-consuming adults. Surveys are needed that evaluate both the quantity and frequency of consumption. The lowest BMI and WC were associated with a 'Mediterranean' drinking style (i.e. relatively little, but more frequently).

06 September 2018 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: Excessive alcohol intake has been shown to be associated with cardiovascular disease via metabolic pathways. However, the relationship between alcohol intake and obesity has not been fully elucidated. We aimed to examine the association of alcohol consumption with fat deposition and anthropometric measures.

METHODS: From 2006-2008, we conducted a cross-sectional study in a population-based sample of Japanese men aged 40 to 79 years. Areas of abdominal visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) were calculated using computed tomography imaging. Based on a questionnaire, we classified participants into five groups according to weekly alcohol consumption, excluding former drinkers: non-drinkers (0 g/week), 0.1-160.9, 161-321.9, 322-482.9 and >==483 g/week. Multivariable linear regression was used to estimate adjusted means of obesity indices for each group.

RESULTS: We analyzed 998 men (mean age and body mass index [BMI], 63.8 years and 23.6 kg/m(2), respectively). Higher weekly alcohol consumption was strongly and significantly associated with higher abdominal VAT area, percentage of VAT, and VAT-to-SAT ratio (all P for trend <0.001), and also with waist circumferences and waist-to-hip ratio (P for trend, 0.042 and 0.007, respectively). These associations remained significant after further adjustment for BMI. Whereas, alcohol consumption had no significant association with abdominal SAT area.

CONCLUSIONS: Higher alcohol consumption was associated with higher VAT area, VAT% and VAT-to-SAT ratio, independent of confounders including BMI, in general Japanese men. These results suggest that alcohol consumption may have a potential adverse effect on visceral fat deposition.

18 May 2018 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Findings from studies of alcohol and obesity measures (eg, waist circumference [WC] and body mass index [BMI; calculated as kg/m(2)]) are conflicting. Residual confounding by dietary intake, inconsistent definitions of alcohol consumption across studies, and the inclusion of former drinkers in the nondrinking comparison group can contribute to the mixed literature.

OBJECTIVE: This study examines associations of alcoholic beverage consumption with dietary intake, WC, and BMI.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional data from the 2003-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were analyzed.

PARTICIPANTS/SETTING: Adults 20 to 79 years of age (n=7,436 men; n=6,939 women) were studied.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Associations of alcoholic beverage consumption with energy (kcal), macronutrient and sugar intakes (% kcal), WC, and BMI were determined.

STATISTICAL ANALYSES PERFORMED: Multivariable linear regression models were used to determine associations of average daily volume and drinking quantity (ie, drinks per drinking day) with dietary intake and obesity measures. Former and never drinkers were analyzed as distinct categories; associations of drinking with WC and BMI were examined with and without adjustment for dietary intake variables.

RESULTS: Heavier-drinking men (>/=3 drinks/day) and women (>/=2 drinks/day) consumed less nonalcoholic energy (beta -252 kcal/day, 95% CI -346 to -159 kcal/day and beta -159 kcal/day, 95% CI -245 to -73 kcal/day, respectively) than moderate drinkers (1 to 2 drinks/day in men and 1 drink/day in women). By average daily drinking volume, differences in WC and BMI between former and moderate drinkers were +1.78 cm (95% CI 0.51 to 3.05 cm) and +0.65 (95% CI 0.12 to 1.18) in men and +4.67 cm (95% CI 2.95 to 6.39 cm) and +2.49 (95% CI 1.64 to 3.34) in women. Compared with moderate drinking, heavier drinking volume was not associated with WC or BMI among men or women. In men, drinking >/=5 drinks/drinking day was associated with higher WC (beta 3.48 cm, 95% CI 1.97 to 5.00 cm) and BMI (beta 1.39, 95% CI 0.79 to 2.00) compared with men who consumed 1 to 2 drinks/drinking day. In women, WC and BMI were not significantly different for women drinking >/=4 drinks/drinking day compared with 1 drink/drinking day.

CONCLUSIONS: Differences in dietary intake across drinking subgroups and separation of former drinkers from nondrinkers should be considered in studies of alcohol intake in relation to WC and BMI.

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