Sometimes doing what the doctor recommends is not always the easiest thing. Many of us have certainly been there: “lose a little
weight”, “stop smoking”, “cut down on your drinking”, etc. Easier said than done! Just how effective are these requests from doctors in actually improving our health and well-being?
A new study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of medical advice to risky drinkers or binge drinkers in reducing alcohol consumption.
5735 American adults (aged 18-99) considered to be risky or binge drinkers were found and analyzed using the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Annual Survey Data. For each participant, it was determined if they were given advice from a medical professional to cut back (or stop) drinking and compared to actual consumption levels after being given this advice.
One of the understood reasons why wine and alcohol in general are good complements to a meal is that it has been shown to stimulate short-term food intake. While is it is not known what exactly causes
this increase in food intake after alcohol consumption, there are several theories. First, it is possible the consumption of alcohol reduces the signals that tell the stomach that it is full. Second, alcohol consumption could trigger an increase in reward signaling of food (in other words, telling the brain that “ooo that food is really good for you!”, when in fact it may not be).
A new study published in the journal Appetite aimed to study the effect of alcohol consumption on food intake and to gain a better understanding of the mechanism behind this phenomenon.
24 healthy men were recruited for this study and were randomly assigned to consume either a vodka/orange juice mixture (20g alcohol; considered “moderate” levels) or orange juice without the alcohol. After consuming the beverage, participants were asked to either eat 40 gram piece cake or “pretend” to eat cake. Known as “modified sham feeding”, those participants asked to “pretend” to eat the cake had to put the cake in their mouths, process/chew it per the study instructions, and then spit it back out into a cup without actually swallowing any of it. Those asked to eat the cake did the same processing/chewing procedure, but actually swallowed the cake instead of spitting it out.
The food reward was determined by the amount of food ingested during a lunch 45 minutes after the alcohol/cake intervention. Foods were categorized as being high fat, low fat, savory, and sweet. Participant “liking” and “wanting” of these food categories was also recorded.
still developing has been shown to have negative effects on cognitive function, showing damage to be permanent, particularly in the areas of the brain responsible for “executive functioning” or working memory, reasoning, task management, and other cognitive functions.
While most studies tend to focus on heavy or binge drinking, few have focused primarily on low to moderate amounts of alcohol and effects on the younger adult brain.
A new study published in the journal Alcohol aimed to determine the effect of low-level alcohol consumption in young adults on cognitive processing, using novel fMRI methods.
This study used data from 29 young adults enrolled in a 20 year from birth through young adulthood cohort. Participants did not do drugs and they did not suffer from any cognitive development issues. The number of alcoholic drinks consumed per week was determined for each participant using questionnaires.
To be sure participants were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol before
the MRI procedure, urine tests were performed.
During the MRI procedure, the Counting Stroop cognitive test was performed.
Consequences of drinking in general promote very mixed messages. First off, moderate consumption of alcohol (specifically, wine) is often touted as being beneficial to one’s health and is frequently encouraged. Drinking too much, on the other hand, is discouraged
across the board due to potential harm to oneself or others.
How do these behaviors affect one’s “readiness to change” consumption habits? I can certainly relate to when I was in college and how after a night or two of debauchery I swore up and down I would never drink that much again.
A new study, published in the journal Addictive Behaviors, focused on drinking behavior of young adults, and how these behaviors affect their “readiness to change” alcohol consumption habits.