Lancet Study Challenges Alcohol Consumption Guidelines

The accepted wisdom in relation to alcohol consumption guidelines was, for many years, that the risks and benefits of alcohol consumption followed a “J curve” in which low levels of alcohol consumption were more beneficial than abstinence or moderate and higher levels of consumption. This led to debates between proponents of abstention and those that favoured alcohol consumption over the quality of the studies on which the guidelines were based. By 2016, however, the NHS had decided that the evidence for any benefits from low levels of alcohol consumption were limited to cardiovascular benefits only in women over the age of 55, thus leading  to the publication of new guidelines on the 8th of January, 2016.

Example of Alcohol “J-Curve”: Alcohol Policy UK
Example of Alcohol “J-Curve”: Alcohol Policy UK

By 2017, papers in such respected publications as the British Medical Journal were arguing that the curve should actually be a straight line.

The latest salvo against the J-curve comes in the form of a well-researched Lancet study that begins with an acknowledgement of complexities and beliefs in relation to alcohol use:

Alcohol use is a leading risk factor for death and disability, but its overall association with health remains complex given the possible protective effects of moderate alcohol consumption on some conditions. With our comprehensive approach to health accounting within the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2016, we generated improved estimates of alcohol use and alcohol-attributable deaths and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) for 195 locations from 1990 to 2016, for both sexes and for 5-year age groups between the ages of 15 years and 95 years and older.

The authors reviewed “694 data sources of individual and population-level alcohol consumption, along with 592 prospective and retrospective studies on the risk of alcohol use” and come out with the following conclusions:

Alcohol use is a leading risk factor for disease burden worldwide, accounting for nearly 10% of global deaths among populations aged 15–49 years, and poses dire ramifications for future population health in the absence of policy action today. The widely held view of the health benefits of alcohol needs revising, particularly as improved methods and analyses continue to show how much alcohol use contributes to global death and disability. Our results show that the safest level of drinking is none. This level is in conflict with most health guidelines, which espouse health benefits associated with consuming up to two drinks per day. Alcohol use contributes to health loss from many causes and exacts its toll across the lifespan, particularly among men. Policies that focus on reducing population-level consumption will be most effective in reducing the health loss from alcohol use.

(Emphasis supplied)

If you would like to read the full article in context, it is attached as a PDF below.

piis0140673618313102.pdf

You may also go to the direct link here.

I think the statement emphasised above is worth pondering. If you want to implement any cardiovascular protective measures, you are better off with regular exercise at the recommended levels, sticking to a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy body weight, managing your stress levels, getting adequate rest and taking any essential medication to manage your cardiovascular risk. The safest level of drinking is none.

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Dark Chocolate Brownies

Dark Chocolate Brownies

Dark chocolate brownies just got healthier with this rich and creamy version.

Ingredients

• ½ cup avocado (approximately 1 small avocado)

• ½ cup sugar

• 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

• 1 cup all-purpose flour

• ½ cup cocoa powder

• ½ teaspoon baking soda

• ½ teaspoon salt

• ¾ cup water

• 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Instructions

• Preheat oven to 350° F.

• In a large bowl, blend together avocado, sugar and vanilla until creamy and almost no avocado chunks are remaining.

• Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl (except for the chocolate chips) and mix. Be careful not to overmix.

• Add the chocolate chips and pour into a greased or flour-dusted 11×7 inch pan.

• Bake for 15-17 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Ready in about 30 minutes

Source: Adventist Review, 16 March 2018

Spicy 3-Bean Chilli

Spicy 3-Bean Chilli

Ingredients

• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (for Diabetes Undone use only one tablespoon)

• 2 cups onion, chopped

• 4 cloves garlic, minced

• 1 red bell pepper, chopped

• 2 tablespoons chili powder (reduce for a less spicy chili)

• 2 teaspoons dried oregano

• 1½ teaspoons ground cumin

• ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

• 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and ½ cup liquid reserved

• 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

• 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

• 1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted tomato sauce

• salt, to taste

• 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped (optional)

Instructions

• Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and add the onions, garlic, and bell peppers. Sauté until the onions are translucent and soft, about 10 minutes.

• Add the seasonings (chili powder, oregano, cumin, and cayenne) and stir for 2 minutes.

• Then, add the tomato sauce, beans, and ½ cup of reserved black bean liquid. Bring the chili to a boil, stirring occasionally.

• When the chili has reached a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until flavors blend and thicken to your liking, at least 15 minutes.

• Season to taste with salt to taste, then top with chopped cilantro, if desired.

Ready in about 45 minutes

Makes 6-8 servings

Credits: Adventist Review, 12 January 2018