“A glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away.” You’ve probably heard this bumper sticker worthy quote quite a lot, just like I have. But lately, I started noticing this ever-growing “wining” trend grow even bigger. Namely that a glass of wine a day is incredibly beneficial for one’s health. There are countless articles on the internet, we are constantly being reminded of this everywhere in the media, and if you go through the magazine aisle, almost every single issue of every single women’s publication has at least one article that mentions the miraculous health benefits of wine. The widespread suggestion is that if you want to reap the benefits, you should drink a glass of wine every day.
Once this started catching my attention, I just thought it was annoying and kind of corny. The articles usually revolve around a bunch of girlfriends drinking wine and destressing, followed by an absolute reassurance that what you are doing is amazing and that you shouldn’t worry, what you’re doing is actually healthy, followed by some cliché funny comment along the lines of “Don’t save up all your 7 drinks for the weekend.” So now that this wining religion has become ubiquitous, it is starting to get me worried. It’s pretty obvious that the target market is women. I’m still trying to figure out the reason for that, but in the meantime, what I want to talk about is the dubiousness and in some cases pure idiocy of the notion that daily alcohol consumption should even be considered a member of the healthy habits category.
So the main argument is that wine helps protect against heart disease by preventing cholesterol buildup in your arteries. The list of cure-all benefits the media touts that I’ve come across so far includes dementia, sunburn, life expectancy, anti-aging, diabetes, depression, risk of stroke, brain decline, cataracts, cancer, obesity, inflammation, the list goes on and on… You name it, the court of public opinion claims that wine can do it for you and then some. This story sounds great until you start thinking critically about the suggestion of these outlets.
In reality, the ingredient you want to focus on when talking about wine consumption in a positive light is resveratrol. This is the “miraculous” ingredient, which has been linked to beneficial results in life longevity and heart health. However, in our day and age, resveratrol is widely available as a supplement. On one hand, supplements are kind of a black hole. It is an unregulated industry, and while there are studies that suggest that supplements work, there’s just as many others that suggest that supplements are useless. On the other hand, resveratrol is one of those supplements which has gone through multiple studies that suggest considerable evidence of its effectiveness. So when we talk about the benefits of wine, we want to talk about the benefits of resveratrol, not the benefits of drinking the alcoholic beverage itself.
Of course, every article on the subject stresses on moderation, but we are still talking about regular daily alcohol consumption. Would you think the same way if I told you that you should drink a shot of tequila (which, according to the CDC, also falls in the moderate drinking category) every day 365 days a year, or a shot of vodka every day 365 days a year and promote this as a healthy desirable lifestyle? Let’s be clear. I have a problem with this trend specifically because the media outlets keep pushing this as healthy. And it kind of reminds me of the times when smoking was promoted through commercials, the media, and even doctors as healthy.
While you may not be an alcoholic by definition, if you drink one glass of wine every day, you have definitely developed dependency, meaning this has become a habit. This habit is consistently damaging your health, particularly so if you are elderly, and in the meantime, you think you are reaping the benefits of resveratrol, and detoxing. Alcohol, any type of alcohol, is not, never was, and never will be a preventative beverage. Maybe it is true that back in the day, when water sanitation was virtually nonexistent, drinking beer and wine was much safer for one’s health, but in a modern civilized society, that is not the case anymore. And when you read about the Egyptians, or the Greeks, and how they classified wine as medicine or some such nonsense, remember, we’re talking about a time when life expectancy was about 30 years and the Earth was believed to be flat. Ancient Egyptians’s understanding of medicine shouldn’t be dictating your health habits. We live in 2019, we have a better (not perfect, but at least better) understanding of the science behind resveratrol and we know how to get the benefits of those ingredients without the harmful effects of alcohol.
My verdict. If you want to drink wine every day because you enjoy it, it tastes good, or it’s become part of your daily routine, by all means, go ahead. I still don’t think it’s the gold standard for a healthy lifestyle, but assuming you’re an adult, you have the freedom to do whatever you want with your health, no matter how stupid or detrimental it might be. But please, quit lying to yourself and spare me the nonsense about how you drink wine every day because of the health benefits. If you really just want to take advantage of said benefits, buy a bag of grapes, or if you’re able to take supplements, go to your local vitamin store and get yourself some resveratrol. Enough with the argument about the supposed health benefits of drinking alcohol 365 days a year.
Cheers to that.
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