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

Drinking alcoholic beverages is associated with various health effects in the population. Generally speaking, the evidence from epidemiological studies suggest that moderate alcohol intake is associated with a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular events, such as myocardial infarction; the risk of cancer, on the other hand, tends to rise; whether an increase in the incidence of cancer is observed also in association with moderate consumption levels is yet not definitively ascertained. All these effects seem primarily to be associated with the amount of alcohol consumed; the role of the different alcoholic beverages, and of their minor components, in this regard is in fact not clearly defined. Due to the opposite direction of the association between alcohol consumption and cardiovascular and cancer events, the association with all-cause mortality is complex, and J-shaped, with a consumption window theoretically associated with a reduction in all-cause mortality, up to 25 g alcohol per day. However, this issue is the subject of intense scientific debate.

23 November 2022 In Drinking Patterns

Excessive consumption of alcohol is not only a social problem, but it also significantly increases the morbidity and mortality rates of many societies. A correlation has been demonstrated between alcohol consumption and increased mortality from cancer, accidents and injuries, liver cirrhosis and other causes. Alcohol abuse increases the incidence of hemorrhagic stroke and the risk of ischemic stroke, induces serious arrhythmias, adversely affects blood pressure and damages the heart muscle. The dose and way of drinking alcohol play a crucial role in assessing whether this drink allows people to maintain health or whether it is a great health and social threat. The beneficial effects of low and moderate doses of alcohol on the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases have been shown in many population studies and meta-analyses in which the effect of U-shaped or J-shaped curves relating alcohol intake to cardiovascular mortality was observed, especially in ischemic heart disease. However, due to the fact that alcohol consumption is associated with many health hazards, it is not recommended to consume it as a preventive action of cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, recent studies suggest that association of low-to-moderate alcohol consumption with the reduction in cardiovascular risk is a result of lifestyle changes and that any reduction in alcohol consumption is in fact beneficial in terms of general health.

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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