Drink Like the French, Avoid Binges to Spare Heart, Study Says
The protective effect of French drinking may also be due to the beverage, the study said, as wine has been found to protect against heart disease.
“Certain groups lose the cardioprotective effect of alcohol when drinking in a binge pattern,” Annie Britton, an epidemiologist at University College London, who wrote an accompanying editorial, said in a telephone interview yesterday.
“We are not even close to understanding the biological mechanism behind this,” she said.
By Eva von Schaper -
Nov 24, 2010 4:51 AM PT
The French habit of drinking wine almost daily is less taxing to the heart than the Irish custom of downing an equivalent amount of beer on one or two nights a
week, a study suggests. Photographer: Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images
The French habit of drinking wine
almost daily is less taxing to the heart than the Irish custom
of downing an equivalent amount of alcohol on one or two nights
a week, a study suggests.
The findings bolster those of previous studies suggesting a
link between ischemic heart disease, a condition in which blood
supply to the heart is decreased, and drinking patterns such as
bingeing. Having four or more drinks in a short period of time
is more common in northern European countries and the U.S.,
according to the researchers.
U.S. guidelines recommend not more than one drink a day for
women, and two drinks a day for men, according to the current
Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published by the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services. A standard drink is 0.6
ounces of pure alcohol, which is found in 12 ounces of beer, 8
ounces of malt liquor or 5 ounces of wine, according to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The study, led by Jean Ferrieres of Toulouse University,
used data gathered over 10 years from almost 10,000 men in the
French cities of Lille, Strasbourg and Toulouse, and compared it
with information gathered in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The biological effect of different drinking patterns on the
heart isn’t quite clear yet, Britton said. Bingeing may make it
more likely for the heart to beat infrequently and change low
density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol. Steady alcohol
intake may lead to favorable changes in high density lipoprotein
or “good” blood lipids.
All drinkers should be aware that they are at greater risk
of many other diseases, such as liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis
and several kinds of cancer, Britton said.
“We are not even close to understanding the biological
mechanism behind this,” she said.
The protective effect of French drinking may also be due to
the beverage, the study said, as wine has been found to protect
against heart disease.
Read more at www.bloomberg.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Phil Serafino at email@example.com.