03 June 2019 In General Health

BACKGROUND: While alcohol use is linked with a wide variety of health problems, the question of whether differences in drinking patterns could yield different outcomes has remained unclear.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: We measured liver enzymes (ALT, GGT) from alcohol consumers with or without binge drinking from a population-based sample in Finland, where binge-type drinking is common. Data on alcohol use, diet, body weight, lifestyle (smoking, coffee consumption, physical activity), and health status were collected from 19225 subjects (9492 men, 9733 women), aged 25-74 years. The participants were subsequently classified to subgroups, both according to the frequencies of binge drinking and the amounts of regular alcohol intake (low-, medium-, and high-risk drinking).

RESULTS: The quantity of regular alcohol use was roughly linearly related with GGT and ALT activities. ANOVA analyses of the trends according to the frequency of binge drinking showed a significant GGT increase in both men (p < 0.0005) and women (p < 0.0005), and a significant increase of ALT in men (p < 0.0005). In those with low-risk overall consumption, markedly higher GGT (p < 0.0005) and ALT (p < 0.0005) occurred in those with binge drinking more than once a month, compared with those with no such occasions. Binge drinking occurring </=1/month also resulted in higher GGT (p < 0.0005) and ALT (p < 0.05) activities.

CONCLUSIONS: These results emphasize possible adverse consequences of binge drinking on hepatic function even in those with low-risk overall consumption. The pattern of drinking should be more systematically implicated in clinical recommendations for drinking reduction.

28 March 2019 In General Health
Studies indicate an inverse association between moderate alcohol consumption and chronic inflammatory diseases; however, the association between alcohol consumption and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) incidence has not been widely studied. We investigated the associations of total alcohol consumption and intake of specific alcoholic beverages with risk of COPD in a population-based prospective cohort study, the Cohort of Swedish Men (n = 44,254). Alcohol consumption was assessed with a self-administered questionnaire in 1997. During follow-up (1998-2014), 2,177 COPD cases were ascertained. Moderate alcohol consumption was associated with the lowest risk of COPD. A J-shaped association was observed for ethanol consumption (P for nonlinearity = 0.003) and beer consumption (P for nonlinearity < 0.001); for wine consumption, a U-shaped association was observed (P for nonlinearity < 0.001). Defining a "standard drink" as 12 g of ethanol, the multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios were 0.77 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.66, 0.90) and 0.92 (95% CI: 0.81, 1.05) for beer consumption of 4.1-6.0 and >6.0 standard drinks/week (SDW) versus <1.0 SDW, respectively; 0.80 (95% CI: 0.69, 0.93) and 1.00 (95% CI: 0.83, 1.21) for wine consumption of 2.0-4.0 and >4.0 SDW versus <1.0 SDW, respectively; and 1.10 (95% CI: 0.98, 1.24) and 1.20 (95% CI: 0.99, 1.44) for liquor consumption of 2.0-4.0 and >4.0 SDW versus <1.0 SDW, respectively. In conclusion, our findings suggest that moderate beer and wine consumption, but not liquor consumption, may decrease risk of COPD. Additional studies are needed to confirm these associations.
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.

25 January 2019 In Diabetes

Health benefits of moderate wine consumption have been studied during the past decades, first in observational studies and more recently, in experimental settings and randomized controlled studies. Suggested biological pathways include antioxidant, lipid regulating, and anti-inflammatory effects. Both the alcoholic and polyphenolic components of wine are believed to contribute to these beneficial effects. Although several of these studies demonstrated protective associations between moderate drinking and cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, hypertension, certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, neurological disorders, and the metabolic syndrome, no conclusive recommendations exist regarding moderate wine consumption. Yet, it is suggested that the physician and patient should discuss alcohol use. In the CASCADE (CArdiovaSCulAr Diabetes & Ethanol) trial, 224 abstainers with type 2 diabetes were randomized to consume red wine, white wine or mineral water for two years. Here, we summarize our previous findings, offer new evidence concerning the differential effects of wine consumption among men and women, and further suggest that initiating moderate alcohol consumption among well-controlled persons with type 2 diabetes is apparently safe, in regard to changes in heart rate variability and carotid plaque formation.

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