Finally on the popular Ninemsn yesterday, they have announced research results on Red wine and other alcohol intakes, and weight. Today Tonight etc are also starting to mention the health benefits of red wine publically. Ninemsn said significant-sized research has found consuming 1-2 glasses red wine a day (leaving 2 alcohol free days/week, for other health concerns) actually helped individuals be more slim, including compared to those who didn’t drink at all. Alcohol is processed differently to other macronutrients. And I think as long as you don’t push past the rate at which your liver processes alcohol, I can see this as true.
I do believe in the “French Paradox” in which a lot of the French population drink red wine on a regular basis, and while most do eat a higher-than-recommended-% of saturated fats (Cheese, Criossants, Pastries etc), exercise less, and smoke more cigarettes than Americans, they show a low obesity and cardiovascular/heart disease rate, among a low rate of other diseases too. Science/research is pointing to their consumption of Red wine, specifically, the Flavanoids, or Polyphenols and Resveratrol (antioxidant compounds from grape skin contact during wine fermentation), among other bioactive compounds. Some scientists believe in the French paradox, others don’t, and say that there are errors in health data collection. Pft! 🙂 It is still wise to keep your eyes open in research and clinical trials, but many of these are not being funded (like the huge pharmaceutical industry that’s been busted for funding research to benefit them in results – you can manipulate any scientific trial to get the results you want) by wine companies, so I find a lot of them are unbiased.
Red wine grapes have one of the highest antioxidant Flavanoids content, hence the research leaning toward red wine over white wine (although they’re researching white wine too, and found other, different, antioxidant compounds).
Other research is looking at the antioxidant class of Polyphenols (which includes Resveratrol) as the health benefit, as it helps to lower blood pressure, found in the skin of grapes that diffuses into the wine during the production of it (hence with Red wine – white wine does not have contact with grape skins during fermentation). Some research suggests that ordinary grape juice does not confer these benefits.
May I say also that Dr. Penfolds (Penfolds wine) did originally create wine as a medicinal agent. He was a firm believer in the health benefits of red wine, and in around 1844 he brought vine cuttings with him from France, that still stand at Magill Estate. Penfolds first were making fortified wines and brandy, but then started unfortified wines later on. Historically wine has been used for medicinal virtues, such as an antiseptic for wounds etc, sedative, anti-nauseant, tonic/restoration for convalescence, appetite enhancer (for elderly or sick) and amaemia treatment. As well as it’s antioxidant benefits, wine contains vitamins, minerals and trace elements, and has been shown in research to reduce Cancer, reduce Blood Pressure, reduced H.Pylori infection thereby also reducing ulcers, Kidney stones and Gallstones, Cardiovacular diseases (CVD), reduced Stress and Depression (of course different effects with different people), among many other benefits including Diabetes improvement – which is where I see the health benefit in weight (helping to correct Insulin production/release, and decreasing abdominal fat/insulin receptors). Of course, it won’t work to drink gallons and poison your liver, but a little in consistence helps to give your body a little “push along” – wine also thins the blood, reducing clots and increasing circulation.
The famous ancient physician Hippocrates said, “Wine is Fit for Man in a Wonderful Way provided that it is Taken with Good sense by the Sick As Well As The Healthy’. Paracelcus, the father of modern pharmacology, also said :Whether wine is a medicine, nourishment or poison is a matter of dosage”.
You can find decent articles on sciencedaily.com and scientific journals such as:
“The media developed the more recent story of the French paradox in the early 1990s. However, studies on the actions of resveratrol, one of the active non-alcoholic ingredients, were uncommon until research around 1997 showed prevention of cancers. This led to a dramatic interest in this compound.”
Low-Moderate consumption of red wine reduces all causes of mortality (published Jun 2009) at: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090611174052.htm
“…not only explains resveratrol’s one-two punch on inflammation, but also show how it—or a derivative—can be used to treat potentially deadly inflammatory disease, such as appendicitis, peritonitis, and systemic sepsis.”
Scientists Uncork Potential Secrets of Red Wine Health Benefits (published Aug 2009) at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090730103742.htm