Regular moderate wine consumption has been associated with several health benefits in adult individuals. Drinking more than what is recommended in the guidelines will not provide more benefits, only more harm. The risk increases drastically with each drink above moderation!
Both the amount and the drinking pattern is relevant when considering the health aspects of alcoholic beverages.
It is better to drink moderately and regularly with the meals than to drink the same amount at a single occasion, and without any food. Drinking should be avoided by young and underage individuals and those with a history of addiction, during pregnancy and when taking certain medications.
Many reports show that even though the European Mediterranean region accounts for the highest alcohol consumption per capita, it is the region where the observed drinking patterns pose fewer health risks; for example, alcoholic beverages are primarily consumed at home with meals, not in bars/restaurants and not without food.
In fact, harmful drinking patterns are considerably less common in predominantly wine producing countries, where wine is consumed, almost exclusively with meals and the volume of alcohol consumed at each drinking session tends to be much lower than in the Nordic countries, or in the UK and Ireland where the highest levels of binge drinking have been observed.
In parallel, growing evidence indicates that the Mediterranean diet is beneficial to human health. A Mediterranean diet is characterised by a high intake of vegetables, legumes, fruits and nuts, minimally processed cereals, moderately high intake of fish, high intake of olive oil, low-to-moderate intake of dairy products, low intake of meats and a regular but moderate consumption of wine.
Traditionally, most European cultures consider wine a refined choice, a view which is consistent with moderate consumption. While wine consumption in the EU has fallen considerably over the past 20 years, there has been a gradual increase in the misuse of alcoholic beverages among young people, particularly in the form of "binge drinking".
This trend highlights the importance of drinking patterns and the need to promote responsibility and moderation when consuming alcoholic beverages.
Governments have set low risk drinking guidelines, where any potential harm to the human body is minimized and any potential benefit is maximized. Some guidelines include recommendations to drink with food, to alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and ‘to pace’ drinking.
Traditionally, most European cultures consider wine a refined choice, a view which is consistent with moderate consumption, nonetheless enormous cross-cultural variations in the way Europeans drink and behave when they drink do exist...