INTRODUCTION: The differential associations of beer, wine, and spirit consumption on cardiovascular risk found in observational studies may be confounded by diet. We described and compared dietary intake and diet quality according to alcoholic beverage preference in European elderly.
METHODS: From the Consortium on Health and Ageing: Network of Cohorts in Europe and the United States (CHANCES), seven European cohorts were included, i.e. four sub-cohorts from EPIC-Elderly, the SENECA Study, the Zutphen Elderly Study, and the Rotterdam Study. Harmonized data of 29,423 elderly participants from 14 European countries were analyzed. Baseline data on consumption of beer, wine, and spirits, and dietary intake were collected with questionnaires. Diet quality was assessed using the Healthy Diet Indicator (HDI). Intakes and scores across categories of alcoholic beverage preference (beer, wine, spirit, no preference, non-consumers) were adjusted for age, sex, socio-economic status, self-reported prevalent diseases, and lifestyle factors. Cohort-specific mean intakes and scores were calculated as well as weighted means combining all cohorts.
RESULTS: In 5 of 7 cohorts, persons with a wine preference formed the largest group. After multivariate adjustment, persons with a wine preference tended to have a higher HDI score and intake of healthy foods in most cohorts, but differences were small. The weighted estimates of all cohorts combined revealed that non-consumers had the highest fruit and vegetable intake, followed by wine consumers. Non-consumers and persons with no specific preference had a higher HDI score, spirit consumers the lowest. However, overall diet quality as measured by HDI did not differ greatly across alcoholic beverage preference categories.
DISCUSSION: This study using harmonized data from ~30,000 elderly from 14 European countries showed that, after multivariate adjustment, dietary habits and diet quality did not differ greatly according to alcoholic beverage preference.