Red Wine is Good for You!

Ha. Gotcha. No it isn’t. Or it certainly isn’t that simple.

I’ve been in on more than a few social occasions — mostly with women where chick-bonding and wine go hand in hand — and the joke inevitably comes up that “wine is good for you!” And then we laugh because the joke part is that you are rationalizing your wine consumption, and you know it, but we’re all doing it, and it can’t be that bad after all, and ha ha…

So here are the problems with the “wine is good for you” thing. First, we don’t properly qualify it what that means. It means “moderate” consumption. That is, for women, one standard unit of alcohol a day tops, which in wine land translates to about 5 oz. of wine. So go measure and pour that… especially if you are pouring it in to one of those glorious, bucket-sized wine glasses that feel satisfyingly elegant to drink out of. Now look at how much wine is in that glass:

“Are you fucking kidding me? I can drink that in 5 minutes!”

Exactly. I don’t know about you, but my definition of a “glass of wine” is twice that size for sure. Which is twice (or more) what you should be drinking if there are any benefits to be had from drinking red wine. Beyond that 5 oz pittance, research suggests that any possible health benefits go downhill quickly. For a balanced review on this topic, you can read “Alcohol: Does it really offer health benefits?” which offers a pretty balanced discussion that draws on peer-reviewed research. The gist is here is two-fold: First, more than “moderate” is more bad than abstaining. And lets be honest, that 5 oz isn’t going to cut it. Sure as hell not for me, anyway.

Second, the harms and benefits of drinking are bound up in a host of other lifestyle considerations: diet, exercise, smoking, and stress. And the problem with the “wine is good” research is the same problem with all of the “research” we’re offered by the media. We get dumbed down sound bites of “health advice” that are taken out of context, and mutated into truisms that aren’t true.

“But I want it to be true!”

I know, I know. Me too. I want it to be true that wine is good for you. But even if it is in very small doses, I’m just not a small dose kind of girl. Go big or go home. Thing is, going big isn’t working too well for me anymore, so I guess I’m going home. Buh-bye, wine!

 

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