diet and nutrition

Wine consumption: It's about the lifestyle! PDF Print E-mail

Wine consumption and 20-year mortality among late-life moderate drinkers.

J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2012 Jan;73(1):80-8.

ABSTRACT. Objective: This study examined level of wine consumption and total mortality among 802 older adults ages 55-65 at baseline, controlling for key sociodemographic, behavioral, and health status factors. Despite a growing consensus that moderate alcohol consumption is associated with reduced total mortality, whether wine consumption provides an additional, unique protective effect is unresolved. Method: Participants were categorized in three subsamples: abstainers, high-wine-consumption moderate drinkers, and low-wine-consumption moderate drinkers. Alcohol consumption, sociodemographic factors, health behavior, and health problems were assessed at baseline; total mortality was indexed across an ensuing 20-year period. Results: After adjusting for all covariates, both high-wine-consumption and low-wine-consumption moderate drinkers showed reduced mortality risks compared with abstainers. Further, compared with moderate drinkers for whom a high proportion of ethanol came from wine, those for whom a low proportion of ethanol came from wine were older, were more likely to be male, reported more health problems, were more likely to be tobacco smokers, scored lower on socioeconomic status, and (statistical trend) reported engaging in less physical activity. Controlling only for overall ethanol consumption, compared with moderate drinkers for whom a high proportion of ethanol came from wine, those for whom a low proportion of ethanol came from wine showed a substantially increased 20-year mortality risk of 85%. However, after controlling for all covariates, the initial mortality difference associated with wine consumption was no longer significant. Conclusions: Among older adults who are moderate drinkers, the apparent unique effects of wine on longevity may be explained by confounding factors correlated with wine consumption. (J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs, 73, 80-88, 2012).

One cannot separate alcohol consumption from lifestyle! PDF Print E-mail

The Middle Eastern and biblical origins of the Mediterranean diet.

Public Health Nutr. 2011 Dec;14(12):2288-95.

OBJECTIVE: To place the Mediterranean diet (MedDi) in the context of the cultural history of the Middle East and emphasise the health effects of some of the biblical seven species - wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and date honey. DESIGN: Review of the literature concerning the benefits of these foods. SETTING: Middle East and Mediterranean Basin. SUBJECTS: Mediterranean populations and clinical studies utilising the MedDi.Results and conclusionsThe MedDi has been associated with lower rates of CVD, and epidemiological evidence promotes the benefits of consuming fruit and vegetables. Recommended foods for optimal health include whole grain, fish, wine, pomegranates, figs, walnuts and extra virgin olive oil. The biblical traditional diet, including the seven species and additional Mediterranean fruits, has great health advantages, especially for CVD. In addition to the diet, lifestyle adaptation that involves increasing physical activity and organised meals, together with healthy food choices, is consistent with the traditional MedDi. The MedDi is a manageable, lifestyle-friendly diet that, when fortified with its biblical antecedent attributes, may prove to be even more enjoyable and considerably healthier in combating the obesogenic environment and in decreasing the risks of the non-communicable diseases of modern life than conventional, modern dietary recommendations. The biblical seven species, together with other indigenous foods from the Middle East, are now scientifically recognised as healthy foods, and further improve the many beneficial effects of the MedDi.

Alcoholic beverage preferences and associated drinking patterns and risk behaviors among high school youth. PDF Print E-mail

Am J Prev Med. 2011 Apr;40(4):419-26.
Alcoholic beverage preferences and associated drinking patterns and risk behaviors among high school youth.
Siegel MB, Naimi TS, Cremeens JL, Nelson DE.
Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.
BACKGROUND: Very little is known about the types of alcoholic beverages preferred by youth in the U.S. and the relationship between beverage preference and demographic and behavioral characteristics of these youth.
PURPOSE: To determine the type of alcoholic beverages consumed by adolescent drinkers and how it varies by drinking patterns.
METHODS: In 2010, an analysis was performed using 2007 data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) conducted among public school students in eight states that included a question on the type of alcohol usually consumed. Analysis was restricted to the 7723 youth who reported consuming at least one drink of alcohol in the past 30 days. Beverage type preferences were analyzed by demographic factors, drinking patterns, and other health-risk behaviors. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine the correlates of type-specific alcohol consumption.
RESULTS: Liquor was the strongly preferred alcoholic beverage of choice (43.8%), followed by beer (19.2%) and malt beverages (17.4%), with a very low preference for wine (3.7%) or wine coolers (3.4%). A higher preference for liquor or beer was observed among older youth, among those with a riskier pattern of alcohol consumption (e.g., greater frequency of consumption, binge drinking, or drinking and driving), and among youth who engaged in other risk behaviors.
CONCLUSIONS: Riskier patterns of drinking and other health-risk behaviors are associated with an increased preference for hard liquor and beer. Improved surveillance of alcoholic beverage preferences among youth will enable a better understanding of the factors related to youth drinking, allowing the development of more effective interventions.
Copyright © 2011 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. All rights reserved.
PMID: 21406275 [PubMed - in process]

WineDoctors visit 2010 FDA nutrition guidelines PDF Print E-mail

On January 31, 2011, the FDA released its dietary and nutritional guidelines for 2010.  Every 5 years since 1980 the FDA has released nutritional guidelines which are recommendations by nationally recognized experts designed to promote health and reduce the risk of major chronic diseases.

The WineDoctors first visited the topic when the preliminary draft was released in July 2010.  WineDoctors took the opportunity to express formal opinions to the FDA through our international affiliation with ISFAR.  Now we take a look at the final results.

Extracting the pertinent material related to alcohol consumption, the FDA formally defines moderate alcohol consumption, heavy or high risk drinking and binge drinking.  While they acknowledge that excessive and binge drinking can be harmful, they are aware that 50 percent of adults consume alcohol on a regular basis.  They acknowledge that moderate drinking may have beneficial effects, citing increasingly strong evidence with regard to cardiovascular health, cognitive function, and all-cause mortality.    This is balanced by a recognized increased risk of the incidence of breast cancer, injuries and accidents, violence and motor vehicle accidents with moderate alcohol consumption.

The FDA goes on to state that there is good evidence that breastfeeding women who desire to drink in moderation may safely continue.  They suggest a timed strategy citing alcohol elimination biochemistry.  FDA nutritional guidelines do emphasize that there are certain groups that should not drink: those who cannot restrict consumption to moderate levels, those not of legal drinking age, women who are pregnant or may become pregnant as no safe level of consumption has been established.  Others groups include those on medications which would contra-indicate alcohol use, have medical conditions, or plan to drive or operate machinery.

They go on to create context for the role of alcohol consumption in a balanced diet, creating awareness of the additional calories which are encountered and the importance of meeting nutritional requirements if alcohol is included in the diet.  They state that a serving of alcohol accounts for 82 kcal at 7 calories per gram but depends on the type of alcoholic beverage consumed.  They are consistent with most reproducible literature that one drink is defined as 12 fluid ounces of regular beer (5% alcohol), 5 fluid ounces of wine (12% alcohol-clearly not a Napa Cabernet Sauvignon!), or 1.5 fluid ounces of 80 proof (40% alcohol) distilled spirits with one drink containing  .6 fluid ounces of alcohol.

They go on to note that moderate alcohol consumption is not associated with weight gain in healthy adults, but over consumption is.  Weight loss strategies can focus on this particular phenomenon.

Overall, the 2010 FDA nutritional guidelines offer a balanced review of the present literature in moderate alcohol consumption, does not overemphasize heavy drinking, and incorporates suggestions that mirror the dietary pyramid and Mediterranean diet.

2010 FDA Dietary Guidelines and Alcohol PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 12 September 2010 23:05

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are the cornerstone of Federal nutrition policy and nutrition education activities. 

The Dietary Guidelines are jointly issued and updated every 5 years by the Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS). They provide authoritative advice for people two years and older about how good dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases. 

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines remain the current guidance until the 2010 Dietary Guidelines are released in December 2010.
The 2005 Dietary Guidelines include alcohol in moderation in adults 21 years of age and older.  Alcohol in moderation is defined as two drinks daily for men and one drink daily for women.  One drink equals 12 fl. oz. of regular beer, 5 fl. oz. of 12% alcohol wine, or 1.5 fl. oz. of distilled spirits.

The evidence-based analysis of the science formed the basis for 9 major Dietary Guidelines messages that resulted in the 41 Key Recommendations, of which 23 were for the general public and 18 were for special population groups.

On June 15, 2010, a Federal Register notice announced the release of the Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010.  The last meeting of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee was on May 12, 2010.  Public written comments were accepted from June 15, 2010 – July 15, 2010 and oral comments were accepted at a meeting on July 8, 2010.

Within the report, excessive alcohol consumption is noted to cause liver cirrhosis, hypertension, cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, injuries, and violence.  Moderate alcohol consumption was noted to have prevented an estimated 26,000 deaths due to reductions in heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Evidence since the 2005 guidelines were published show a dose response relationship between alcohol and breast cancer and alcohol and colon cancer.  In moderate consumers of alcohol, there is an increased risk of liver cancer, decrease risk of diabetes, modulation of blood sugar control in diabetics, decrease risk of total stroke, ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, and no increase risk of hypertension.  Amongst heavy consumers, poor metabolic control in diabetics and increased risks of total stroke, and hypertension have been shown.  The “J-curve” showing a decrease in mortality with moderate alcohol consumption and an increase in mortality with heavy consumers was reiterated.

The committee is recommending patterns of alcohol consumption meaning a per week or per month metric in lieu of a daily amount.  You can view the chapter on alcohol at: or simply go to: to read the entire report.

The Guidelines policy document is due for release to the public by December 2010. A consumer-focused outreach campaign to broadly publicize Guidelines-related educational materials is being planned for Spring 2011.


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