Wine Talk

Snooth User: napagirl68

Vilifying wine

Posted by napagirl68, Sep 18, 2014.

As a person who loves and frequently enjoys wine, I have been very disturbed lately by world, and various govt agencies, calling all ETOH consumption, including wine, to be "deadly", for the most part.    I have posted on this before, citing an article wherein the WHO called ethanol a major carcinogen.  While most just ignore this hype and move onto what the Kardashians are doing this week, I find these global "announcements" to be worrisome.  What happened to " innocent until proven guilty"?  What about the actual science?

For some comic relief, and to show the wide variation in study results, I've linked the following article. It's from a cooking magazine- no rocket science, but author does a pretty good job of summing up the conflicting studies.   Rest easy, and drink up (unless you are a woman, it seems):

And to see what is happening in France that is more concerning:

I have tried, to no avail , to research cancer statistics following the Prohibition (US).  Granted, that was a long time ago, but it would have been interesting to see what happened the 5-10-20yrs after.

Consuming alcohol is a personal decision.  I am not purporting the use or non-use of alcohol at all; but rather, I am concerned about govt involvement, and what is going on in other countries, as well as here in the US.  I think we can all agree that moderation is best, but then the findings of this study actually refute even that over abstaining!

And why the renewed research effort?   Anyone have a kid go through the DARE program at school?  A few weeks ago, my 10yr old came home saying that even ONE 5 oz glass of wine can cause fatty liver and cancer.  YEP.  One five oz glass and you're a goner. She was also told that wine is bad for you, just as bad as cocaine, pot, heroin, etc.  You can only imagine the damage control I had to do..  Hence my concern here....

Ok, done with my rant for now.....


Reply by dmcker, Sep 18, 2014.

NG, I'm glad to see you continue with your monitoring and posting on this subject. I'm running out the door right now to a birthday party (where there will be plenty of alcohol consumed), and I haven't read the links yet, but have noted the same trend you cite.

2nd-rate academics/research scientists trying to make a name for themselves? Health & welfare politicians trying to stake out a claim? Puritanism continuing to raise its excessive head? More examples of the Internet spreading questionable 'information' due to less vetting of its quality? Ditto for weak areas in the public education process? Bloggers needing something to push out the digital door even if its quality is poor? Yet another example of unquestioned programming being regurgitated? All of the above and others? Poor science followed by an internet feeding frenzy of whatever scale has led to the spread of often-fallacious 'news' far more often, perhaps, then in the past.

Here's a quote from 1949 when Aldous Huxley sent a letter to George Orwell, lauding him for his book 1984. Leaving aside the dated jargon and its somewhat-excessive-to-get-the-point-across tone (though you can't really blame him since the entire world had been teetering over the abyss just shortly before this writing), it demonstrates prescient truth too often realized in our post-Mad Men commercial and political information-sharing environment.

"Within the next generation I believe that the world's leaders will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging them and kicking them into obedience."


Anyway, gotta run. Looking forward to this discussion...

Reply by JonDerry, Sep 18, 2014.

As my aunt's husband, career anesthesiologist puts it, "there's no (unbiased) study out there that proves alcohol does any damage to the liver, and even in the unlikely event that it does, just drink coffee the next morning, which coats and helps restore it."

Reply by EMark, Sep 18, 2014.

Unfortunately, none of your links worked for me, NG. I tried witn IE and with Chrome.

On the other hand, I think I'm happy with Jon's report.  That is a finding that I can live with.  

Reply by dmcker, Sep 18, 2014.

I get to the parent website but then get 'Page Not Found' notices for all three links.

Reply by napagirl68, Sep 18, 2014.

Sorry guys.  Not sure why the hyperlink did not work properly.  You'll have to paste into browser now.....

eta- or not!  looks like they work now.

Reply by outthere, Sep 18, 2014.

They work fine for me. These people are internet challenged. It's about time they upgraded to real  equipment and they would stop having all these issues. ;)


Is Wine Good for You? Or Bad? What Does Science Say?
[Updated with 2014 data!] 
We like science as much as the next guy, but historically, it hasn’t been the most consistent when it comes to telling us what we should and shouldn’t eat. Even though ingesting (and digesting) food is key to the biological definition of life itself, scientists have had a pretty hard time making up their minds about what happens to us when we put things in our mouths.
Like wine, for instance. It seems like every year, there’s a different declaration from on high: Wine kills you! Wine saves you! Wine causes cancer! Wine can heal blind mice and let them see! All of this can get pretty confusing for your average health-conscious lush, so we thought we’d do the hard work of seeing what’s been said over the past two and a half decades (plus a little ancient history) about wine, and try to come up with the Definitive Science Answer to the question:
Is wine good for me?
3150 BC:
Ancient Egyptians use wine as a base for medicines, mixed with things like balm, coriander, sage, and pine resin, which written recipes confirm were used to treat diseases from stomachaches to herpes.
500 BC:
Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, recommends wine as part of a healthy diet, and prescribes its medicinal use for disinfecting wounds, helping with diarrhea, and easing the pain of childbirth.
1300 AD:
Arnaldus de Villanova writes a book called Liber de Vinis, in which he endorses using wine as a base for herbal cocktails for fighting problems like dementia and a poor complexion. It would be pretty generous to call this stuff “science,” but both Villanova and Hippocrates certainly spent a lot of time around sick people.
The Next Six Hundred Years:
Wine continues to be popular with the medical profession, especially as cities grow and clean water becomes harder and harder to find. Through the 19th century, adding wine to water (or just substituting one for the other) is a popular method for “purifying” the public water, but in the U.S., wine’s beneficial image suffers a severe blow (and temporary prohibition) in the late 19th and early 20th centuries from the temperance movement.
By the late ’70s, though, American wines are winning international awards, and Americans are back to the bottle. Around the same time, the USDA published its landmark Composition of Foods, which broke down 2,500 foods into calories, carbs, protein, fat, and all the other details we’re used to today, launching a new era of nutrition awareness. Add in some technical advances in tracking how molecules move through the body, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for serious wine science.
Red Wine Linked to Migraine, says the New York Times, which also reported that wine makes more acid in your stomach than hard liquor, causing problems for the reflux-inclined.
The French Paradox strikes! Morley Safer dedicates his 60 Minutes segment to the theory that drinking wine lets French people eat a diet high in saturated fat without keeling over at 50, based on a study that found that regular red wine drinkers had more good cholesterol (and therefore less bad cholesterol) than their non-tippling counterparts, possibly thanks to a compound called resveratrol.
And it’s not just reds! White Wine Also Aids the Heart, the Times reports.
Uh-oh: Wine’s Risks May Outweigh Benefits. Turns out that it might not matter how healthy your arteries are if you get an alcohol-related cancer, die in a drunk driving accident, or end up with cirrhosis. Methodological forest-for-the-trees problems like this will continue to plague wine science, but for many drinkers it seems to miss the point. It’s a given that we’ll be drinking something, we just want to know which thing is least bad.
Wine can make you live forever! Danish scientists found that a fountain-of-life level 49 percent reduction in mortality came to those who drank three to five glasses of wine a day. Not just alcohol in general, but wine in particular. A big win for team Dionysus.
It keeps getting better! Now red wine might stop cancer. Or resveratrol might, anyway. In an example of the classic “robo-tripping” paradox, in which you will probably fall asleep from the cough syrup before the hallucinogenic effects kick in, you’d need to drink more wine than your body could handle to get enough of that cancer-killing compound to matter.
But just drinking wine, resveratrol be damned, stops macular degeneration!
Good wine news keeps rolling in as the millennium approaches, though how much it actually has to do with wine gets a little wobbly. A cardiologist from Bordeaux “finds” that Cab-Sauvs from (where else?) Bordeaux are the healthiest in the world. More Danes find out that wine can cut stroke risk by 30 percent, but also noted that people who drink wine tend to just eat more healthily in general (i.e., eating with meals, and possibly being rich, is actually what’s helping).
This was also the year that the government started letting wine companies put little labels on bottles suggesting that wine is good for you. And hey, it’s fat-free and gluten-free, too!
More doubt is cast on whether it’s the wine that’s doing all these helpful things, or just the wine lifestyle. One doctor tells WebMD, “It’s quite clear that at least in Denmark and probably in North America those who drink wine are more likely to have higher social and economic status, higher education, higher IQ, and have parents with higher education and higher socioeconomic status, and those factors are very strongly related to health.” She fails to mention that drinking wine on yachts leads to an unfortunate uptick in skin cancer risk.
Wine! I’m gonna live foreeever, I’m gonna learn how to fly! (Credit: Resveratrol/Wikipedia)
Wine can make you live forever, again! But this time it’s once again all in the resveratrol, that magic compound that you’ve probably seen a bajillion times and never bothered to actually pronounce out (rez-ver-a-trawl). The Times admits that the miracle compound has “not been tested even in mice, let alone people,” but that doesn’t stop them from repeating the scientists’ claims that “human life spans could be extended by 30 percent.”
Rats That Drank Sherry Daily Tended to Have Lower Levels of Bad Cholesterol. That one speaks for itself (lucky rats).
Wine=SuperMice. A study finds that “an ordinary laboratory mouse will run one kilometer on a treadmill before collapsing from exhaustion. But mice given resveratrol, a minor component of red wine and other foods, run twice as far.”
No one knows what’s going on. On the Wine Is Good side, resveratrol is found to prevent prostate cancer, another wine compound is found to be a “potent and selective killer” of leukemia, and another study finds that a little bit of vino leads to longer life expectancy in men.On the Wine Is Confusing side, the Times ran not one but two articles about how women are confused by wine science on cancer and general health, and a new study showed that Concord grape juice is even better for your heart than wine.And in the real danger zone, a huge study found that alcohol in any amount can trigger breast cancer, and that a growing number of wines have a problem called “ladybug taint,” an unpleasant aroma acquired from the insects’ secretions on vineyard vines.2008:
Bad year for the economy, but a great year for wine. It was found to protect against dementia, battle obesity, fight Alzheimer’s, lower lung cancer risk, and “keep hearts young.” Behind it all? Resveratrol.
Dialing back a bit, but still positive, a study found that half a glass a day could “boost life expectancy by 5 years.” On the flip side, it was found that white wine not only makes tooth stains from other drinks darker, it leads to breast cancer just as often as its ruddier cousin.
But resveratrol has become so mainstream at this point that imposters are starting to flood the market with supplements of dubious value. Why dubious? Because despite all the heartening research, no one really has any idea what resveratrol does, or how much people need to consume for it to do whatever it does.
The year starts out plummy, with more news on prostate cancer fighting, anti-stroke abilities, and moderate wine drinking getting pegged to “better cognitive function,” of all things. But then, the mighty resveratrol begins to fall. In December, the pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline announced it was stopping development of a resveratrol-based drug. Turns out that in the amounts thought necessary to actually help humans, it also triggered kidney failure in some participants. Not a great side effect.
But you can’t keep wine down for long! “Red Wine: Exercise in a Bottle?” takes the cake for the goofiest headline for a wine study write-up, but it found that rats that ate resveratrol in a simulated zero-gravity environment (so, astro-rats) didn’t experience the usual problems that astronauts face in space, like bone-density loss and insulin resistance.
At the same time, more news about how drinking raises breast cancer risk came out, and the whole basis for wine being better than other alcohols came under fire. A study found that beer was as good as wine, as far as heart health is concerned, and the Times took it a step further, suggesting that a good martini might do the trick, too.
Wine might stop you from getting fat! And “pigs with a penchant for pinot noir fared better than their vodka swilling swine counterparts,” and a study found that old mice got much better at walking on balance beams once they were fed resveratrol.
But wait! A study in late 2012 found that resveratrol supplements did nothing to improve (or hurt) the health of already healthy, middle-aged women.
A new study questions whether light to moderate drinking is good for your heart. Researchers found that reducing alcohol consumption benefited even light to moderate drinkers.
So where does that leave us? Pretty much where we started, sorry. No matter how much wine or ink or resveratrol has been spilled on the subject over the past few decades, no one really knows if wine is a super-drug that keeps Mediterranean people alive for centuries or a poison that’s slowly rotting us away from within. If someone comes up with a miracle anti-aging drug, you’ll probably hear about it, but until then, feel free to ignore the wine science. As with most things food, you’ll probably be fine if you drink in moderation, drink mostly with meals, and, most importantly, enjoy yourself while you’re doing it. Because according to science, being happy makes you 60 percent less likely to die young!
Oh, wait, never mind. Now pessimists live longer. Sigh.
KEYWORDS: Health, Science, Wine
Reply by outthere, Sep 18, 2014.
Imagine France without wine. Bizarre, non? Wine is so associated with French culture, you would think they invented the stuff. (The Greeks and Etruscans taught them. Shhh.) Man has been making wine for thousands of years, but the French made it big business, refining it and marketing it to a thirsty world.
While the image of French wine has arguably never been stronger, especially in young markets like China, the French don't drink nearly as much as they used to. Part of this is healthy: For centuries, the average French farmworker drank a few liters a day because it was safer than the water. But lifestyles have changed in other ways; the French don't linger at long meals with a bottle or two like they used to, and young people don't see wine as a staple.
When wine isn't seen as part of a meal or something with cultural value, then it becomes just another alcoholic beverage.
Maybe it's not so surprising that the French Senate is considering a bill that would impose new restrictions on wine. As our contributor Suzanne Mustacich recently reported from Bordeaux, the proposed law—pushed for by the National Association for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Addiction (ANPAA)—is being touted as a public health measure. Sin taxes on wine would rise, and warning-label language would change, from "the abuse of alcohol is dangerous for health" to "alcohol is dangerous for your health." Suddenly, even moderate drinking is dangerous.
The bill's original language also contained new restrictions on advertising and marketing. French winemakers have long complained about the Evin law, passed in 1991, which bans alcohol ads on TV and restricts how it can be portrayed in print ads. Since 2008, thanks to a lawsuit brought by the ANPAA, editorial content is restricted too. Journalists are limited on how much they can praise a wine--too much is considered free publicity and forbidden. The new provision would have extended the rules to social media, preventing wine promotion on Facebook or Twitter.
How would the government enforce such rules? Well, according to ANPAA director Patrick Elineau, China has proven it can be done—by censoring political dissidents. Vive la liberté.
So far, no politician seems to be jumping to lead the charge for the bill. The French agriculture minister has promised no higher taxes on wine for at least two years. President François Hollande has stayed silent. And the social media language quietly disappeared from the bill as it wound through the Senate. Yet the bill is moving forward. French winemakers have formed their own lobbying group to fight back.
Is it wrong to put more controls on alcohol? Alcoholism is a serious issue, with medical and social costs. Drunk driving claims innocent lives. But will these restrictions have a real impact at reducing those ills? Elineau is quick to say that he and his allies do not want prohibition. But what will happen when the restrictions don't solve alcohol abuse?
What may be most revealing about this campaign is a comment by Dr. Alain Rigaud, ANPAA president and a Reims-based psychiatrist specializing in addiction. He told Wine Spectator that these restrictions would not deter fine-wine drinkers. No, they would target those drinking cheap wine. "They are not drinking for the pleasure of tasting wine. They drink for the alcohol," said Rigaud. Take note, Two-Buck-Chuck fans.
America's "noble experiment" with Prohibition was marked by a similar attitude. The country's temperance movement gained steam in the decades before the 18th Amendment was ratified in 1919. During that time, America experienced a huge immigration wave. Southern and Eastern Europeans came, looking for opportunity. In 1910, a majority of Americans lived in small towns. By 1920, most lived in cities, and the country was more ethnically diverse than ever. Congress actually delayed reapportioning its seats for nine years after the 1920 census to keep urban voters from gaining majority rule.
Temperance supporters looked at the newcomers who frequented city saloons and decided they could not handle alcohol. The best thing for both America and for immigrants' well-being was to ban "intoxicating liquors," which meant all alcohol. (In the South, temperance fans felt African Americans couldn't handle a drink either.)
So, a Congress representing a minority of voters in an increasingly diverse country banned the production and sale of alcohol because they thought they knew what was best for those poor, urban, ethnic voters. You know how it worked out.
Even though it was repealed, Prohibition's impact on wine was felt for decades. By making wine a banned substance, something people brewed in their basement, it reduced wine's value to its ability to intoxicate. Wine was just another type of booze, an intoxicating liquor.
If France decides to chip away at wine's status as a pillar of French heritage, how long before it becomes just hooch?
Reply by outthere, Sep 18, 2014.
Why Do Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers?
One of the most contentious issues in the vast literature about alcohol consumption has been the consistent finding that those who don't drink tend to die sooner than those who do
By John Cloud Monday, Aug. 30, 2010
Correction Appended: Aug. 31, 2010
One of the most contentious issues in the vast literature about alcohol consumption has been the consistent finding that those who don't drink tend to die sooner than those who do. The standard Alcoholics Anonymous explanation for this finding is that many of those who show up as abstainers in such research are actually former hard-core drunks who had already incurred health problems associated with drinking.
But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that — for reasons that aren't entirely clear — abstaining from alcohol does tend to increase one's risk of dying, even when you exclude former problem drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers' mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers.
(See pictures of booze under a microscope.)
Moderate drinking, which is defined as one to three drinks per day, is associated with the lowest mortality rates in alcohol studies. Moderate alcohol use (especially when the beverage of choice is red wine) is thought to improve heart health, circulation and sociability, which can be important because people who are isolated don't have as many family members and friends who can notice and help treat health problems.
But why would abstaining from alcohol lead to a shorter life? It's true that those who abstain from alcohol tend to be from lower socioeconomic classes, since drinking can be expensive. And people of lower socioeconomic status have more life stressors — job and child-care worries that might not only keep them from the bottle but also cause stress-related illnesses over long periods. (They also don't get the stress-reducing benefits of a drink or two after work.)
But even after controlling for nearly all imaginable variables — socioeconomic status, level of physical activity, number of close friends, quality of social support and so on — the researchers (a six-member team led by psychologist Charles Holahan of the University of Texas at Austin) found that over a 20-year period, mortality rates were highest for those who were not current drinkers, regardless of whether they used to be alcoholics, second highest for heavy drinkers and lowest for moderate drinkers.
(Watch TIME's Video "Taste Test: Beer with Extra Buzz.")
The sample of those who were studied included individuals between ages 55 and 65 who had had any kind of outpatient care in the previous three years. The 1,824 participants were followed for 20 years. One drawback of the sample: a disproportionate number, 63%, were men. Just over 69% of the abstainers died during the 20 years, 60% of the heavy drinkers died and only 41% of moderate drinkers died.
These are remarkable statistics. Even though heavy drinking is associated with higher risk for cirrhosis and several types of cancer (particularly cancers in the mouth and esophagus), heavy drinkers are less likely to die than people who don't drink, even if they never had a problem with alcohol. One important reason is that alcohol lubricates so many social interactions, and social interactions are vital for maintaining mental and physical health. As I pointed out last year, nondrinkers show greater signs of depression than those who allow themselves to join the party.
The authors of the new paper are careful to note that even if drinking is associated with longer life, it can be dangerous: it can impair your memory severely and it can lead to nonlethal falls and other mishaps (like, say, cheating on your spouse in a drunken haze) that can screw up your life. There's also the dependency issue: if you become addicted to alcohol, you may spend a long time trying to get off the bottle.
That said, the new study provides the strongest evidence yet that moderate drinking is not only fun but good for you. So make mine a double.
The original version of this article misidentified abstainers (people in the study who were not current drinkers, regardless of their past drinking status) as people who had never drunk. The article has been edited to reflect the correction.
Reply by napagirl68, Sep 19, 2014.

OT, thanks for posting the actual articles... something was amiss with the hyperlinks but i fixed it about an hour ago.  Now they should work.  But thank you for posting the text for the three articles...

Reply by JonDerry, Sep 19, 2014.

Damn, here I thought OT was in a mood for research tonight!

Reply by dmcker, Sep 19, 2014.

"They work fine for me. These people are internet challenged. It's about time they upgraded to real  equipment and they would stop having all these issues. ;)"


As if you could teach your grandmother (OK, uncle, maybe) how to suck eggs! Stop preening your feathers just because you got there AFTER NG fixed the links!   ;-)

Reply by zufrieden, Sep 19, 2014.

Interesting commentary - and all free for the reading.  Always a treat seeing a slightly incented mind at work on problems that pinch the sensual and threaten the hedonic.

BTW, the links worked fine here too...

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