Conflicting studies about the goodness or badness of alcohol

(Photo Credit: Thinkstock)

(Photo Credit: Thinkstock)

About a year ago I wrote an article about the benefits of drinking red wine, and it was easy to find articles that virtually gave me permission to drink my favorite red zinfandels. Except for my twice-yearly wine fasts (I’m abstaining from drinking alcohol of any kind this month) just to cleanse the insides so to speak, I have a glass of wine every night. I was very glad to know that my red zin is actually good for me.

I also quoted a couple of reputable sources:

“Prevention” online published 8 Reasons to Love Red Wine, validating that drinking wine is definitely good for my body. Here’s the list

  1. Lowers cholesterol – the high-fiber Tempranillo grapes seems to help lower cholesterol
  2. Protects your heart – “…the antioxidants in red wine—can help keep blood vessels flexible and reduce the risk of unwanted clotting,” says John Folts, PhD, a professor of cardiovascular medicine and nutrition at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
  3. Controls blood sugar – red grape skins have a compound called resveratrol that may help diabetics regulate blood sugar. Resveratrol may also decrease cholesterol and blood pressure
  4. Boosts your brain – another plus for resveratrol is that it helps keep our brains working properly
  5. Fights off a cold – This must mean the antioxidants in red wine have helped me stay healthy. I hardly ever get a cold.
  6. Stops cancer – scientists have found that resveratrol helps starve cancer-feeding cells
  7. Helps you get slim – Piceatannol, the chemical compound our bodies convert from resveratrol, has been shown in lab tests to prevent the growth of fat cells
  8. Jazzes up dinner – We don’t even need to drink a glass of red wine to reap its benefits. Use it in sauces or other complimentary ingredients – imagine roasting a leg of lamb with herbs and red wine.

The Mayo Clinic also chimes in about the heart healthy components of resveratrol in red wine – just so long as we drink it in moderation. It says:

“Antioxidants in red wine called polyphenols may help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart…” and “Resveratrol might be a key ingredient in red wine that helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol and prevents blood clots.”

However, just in the last few days another study has come out repudiating these findings.

HealthDay News reported on July 11, 2014 on a new study that “challenges the widely held belief that light drinking of alcohol may be good for your heart.”

It quoted senior author Juan Casas, a professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He says: “While the damaging effects of heavy alcohol consumption on the heart are well-established, for the last few decades we’ve often heard reports of the potential health benefits of light-to-moderate drinking….In our study, we saw a link between a reduced consumption of alcohol and improved cardiovascular health, regardless of whether the individual was a light, moderate or heavy drinker.”

Right now, my question is, which studies should I believe? Until I get that answer, for surely more studies are needed, when my wine fast is over at the end of this month, I know I’ll go right back to my daily glass of zin. Anyone want to join me?

Comments

  1. Aww conflicting studies are always a pain. Life isn’t so simple as some studies make it out to be. Maybe you would feel the health benefits of light-to-moderate drinking and someone else wouldn’t. Who knows?

    I don’t drink much because of personal choice since it is too easy for me to fall into using it as a coping mechanism when I am sad and then I spiral. I give props to the people who can. I will join you in a social drink though : D.

  2. P.S. We literally just posted comments on each other’s websites right about the same time haha.

    • Madeline Sharples says:

      Sebastian, I’ll join you for that social drink anytime – except July and January. Yet, I’m so glad you know your limits. Thanks for being here and leaving comments as always. 🙂

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