Cold water on the “red wine myth”?

red_wine_pourResearchers have poured cold sauvignon blanc on the idea that red wine is good for your health. Eegad, it was all a chimera!

The new study, published in the British Medical Journal, makes a methodological point: previous studies looking at the effect of red wine an health had grouped respondents into drinkers and non-drinkers. But, they find using health data from England from 1998-2008, that lumping former drinkers in with teatotalers in the non-drinker pool brought down the overall health of the non-drinkers. Looking just at the teatotalers, the health effect of red wine was reduced or eliminated across age groups.

But what about the enjoyment of a glass of wine pleasure and happiness extending or enriching life? (The paper doesn’t actually parse wine in the analysis instead relying on units of alcohol.)

Listen to one of the killjoys who wrote the study. Emmanuel Stamatakis, professor at the University of Sydney, told ABC.net.au “I think we have to put our results in the context of real life. Alcohol was consumed, is consumed, and will be consumed, so I think the moderate consumption method has still some value, providing that it’s put in the context of a broader healthy lifestyle.”

Wait, he’s not opposed to moderate wine drinking? Well, he continues! “I think, regarding the messaging, what is the main implication of our study, is to tone down quite a lot the messages around the protective effects of alcohol for health. I don’t think that we can be advising people to use alcohol drinking at the moderate level as a health promoting strategy, as a health promoting intervention.”

Oh, okay. But we already knew it took 35 bottles a day to reach the possibly effective dose of resveratrol.

“All cause mortality and the case for age specific alcohol consumption guidelines: pooled analyses of up to 10 population based cohorts” British Medical Journal

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6 Responses to “Cold water on the “red wine myth”?”


  1. Not an issue for me. I maintain my good health by eating a Brazil nut a week.


  2. Nice summary, especially your point that conclusions are limited by the lack of separating out red wine drinkers. The influence of never drinkers in the non-drinker cohort was at least partly addressed in an Australian study (Powers et al, Longitudinal analysis of alcohol consumption and health of middle-aged women in Australia; Addiction, 2008) which looked at the effects of changes in drinking pattern. Consistent moderate drinkers maintained the best overall health, those who decreased their drinking fared worse. The health of recent abstainers was the same as the health of never drinkers and intermittent drinkers.


  3. As someone once said: we are all terminal; it goes with the territory.


  4. So another study designed to make us feel guilty for the simple pleasure of drinking red wine! I’m not giving in! It’s 2PM and I’m just going to have to take the top off that Central Otago pinot noir, drown my sorrows and try to forget the discovery that red wine is not good for you any more!


  5. Jeg er en stor tilhenger av at litt av alt er godt for helsa.


  6. Sorry! It was my intend to write in English.

    I’m a big fan of that little bit of everything is good for the health.


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