People who choose claret over Coke are less likely to be overweight

Wine drinkers rejoice! People who choose claret over Coke are less likely to be overweight, study shows

  • Researchers studied the grocery purchases and health of 8,675 households
  • They grouped these families by the drinks they tended to buy the most often
  • Those in homes mainly buying sugary or diet drinks tended to be overweight
  • These households also typically bought a lot of biscuits, chocolates and snacks
  • In contrast, wine lovers appeared to make healthier grocery choices as a rule

Shoppers who load their baskets with wine — rather than bottles of coke, or other sugary or diet beverages — are less likely to be overweight, a study has found.

Researchers from the UK analysed the food and drink purchases of nearly 9,000 British households who regularly buy alcohol, juice or soft drinks. 

They found that families who mostly buy sugar-sweetened or diet drinks tended to also purchase a significant proportion of fattening biscuits, chocolates and sweets.

These households contained an above-average number of overweight or obese individuals — defined as those people with a body mass index, or ‘BMI’, over 25.

In addition, these people were found to typically be of lower socio-economic status.

In contrast, members of families who purchase mostly wine, fruit juice or milk-based drinks typically bought more healthy food and were least likely to be overweight.

The findings could help better direct policies targeting obesity — such as the Government’s new obesity strategy intended to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

Shoppers who load their baskets with wine — rather than bottles of coke, or other sugary or diet beverages — are less likely to be overweight, a study has found (stock image)

‘Households at risk of obesity who purchase high volumes of sugary or diet drinks, also have higher purchases of sweet snacks,’ said social epidemiologist and paper author Nicolas Berger of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

‘These households might additionally benefit from policies that target sweet snacks — as a way of reducing excess energy intake and also helping to reduce socio-economic inequalities.’

One such approach, he added, might include ‘extending the UK Treasury sugary drinks industry levy to sweet snacks.’

In order to identify ‘high-risk households’ and the common purchases that could reveal the best targets for interventions, the team analysed food and drink purchase data from 8,675 British households recorded back in 2016.

The researchers identified seven different types of household, which they grouped on the basis of the beverages they bought regularly.

These included sugar-sweetened drinks, diet beverages, fruit- or milk-based drinks, beers and ciders, wine, water and finally a ‘diverse’ group which bought moderate amounts of different drinks.

While the largest set of families fell into the so-called diverse group — which made up 30 per cent of the households studied — 18 per cent fell into the group that mostly bought wine and another 18 per cent mostly bought sugar-sweetened drinks.

Meanwhile, 16 per cent of the households mainly bought diet beverages, while the groups predominantly purchasing beer or cider, fruit- and milk-based drink and water made up 7, 6 and 4 per cent of households, respectively.

Researchers found that families who mostly buy sugar-sweetened or diet drinks tended to also purchase a significant proportion of fattening biscuits, chocolates and sweets. These households contained an above-average number of overweight or obese individuals — defined as those people with a body mass index, or ‘BMI’, over 25 (stock image)

Those who bought a variety of drinks were more likely to have higher incomes, the researchers said, while those who predominantly purchased either sugar-sweetened beverages, diet drinks, or beer and cider tended to be less well-off. 

The highest proportion of overweight or obese individuals were found in the household groups that bought mainly sugar-sweetened or diet drinks — at 66.8 and 72.5 per cent respectively, the team explained. 

The experts noted that families mainly buying sugar-sweetened beverages took in more energy on average — with less of this coming from fruit and vegetables and more coming from unhealthy foods and drinks — compared to the others.

Furthermore, households that bought primarily sugar-sweetened or diet drinks also appeared to be more likely to receive a high proportion of their energy intake from snacks like sweets, chocolates and biscuits.

The Government must ensure that healthy foods are affordable for all, commented World Cancer Research Fund policy and public affairs manager Danielle Edge.

‘This research adds to the evidence that obesity and socioeconomic inequalities are linked,’ she added.

‘If the Government wants to improve the country’s health, and lower obesity-related diseases such as cancer, it is vital that no-one is left behind.’

‘So it needs to be easier for everyone to make healthy choices, ensuring the environments we live in don’t nudge us towards unhealthy ones.’

The full findings of the study were published in the journal PLOS Medicine.

OBESITY: ADULTS WITH A BMI OVER 30 ARE SEEN AS OBESE

Obesity is defined as an adult having a BMI of 30 or over.

A healthy person’s BMI – calculated by dividing weight in kg by height in metres, and the answer by the height again – is between 18.5 and 24.9. 

Among children, obesity is defined as being in the 95th percentile.

Percentiles compare youngsters to others their same age. 

For example, if a three-month-old is in the 40th percentile for weight, that means that 40 per cent of three-month-olds weigh the same or less than that baby.

Around 58 per cent of women and 68 per cent of men in the UK are overweight or obese. 

The condition costs the NHS around £6.1billion, out of its approximate £124.7 billion budget, every year.

This is due to obesity increasing a person’s risk of a number of life-threatening conditions.

Such conditions include type 2 diabetes, which can cause kidney disease, blindness and even limb amputations.

Research suggests that at least one in six hospital beds in the UK are taken up by a diabetes patient.

Obesity also raises the risk of heart disease, which kills 315,000 people every year in the UK – making it the number one cause of death.

Carrying dangerous amounts of weight has also been linked to 12 different cancers. 

This includes breast, which affects one in eight women at some point in their lives.

Among children, research suggests that 70 per cent of obese youngsters have high blood pressure or raised cholesterol, which puts them at risk of heart disease.

Obese children are also significantly more likely to become obese adults. 

And if children are overweight, their obesity in adulthood is often more severe.  

As many as one in five children start school in the UK being overweight or obese, which rises to one in three by the time they turn 10.  

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