A glass of wine is just fine


In terms of nutritional medicine, there is probably no other topic, aside from the "meat question”, which is argued about as fiercely as the health implications of alcohol consumption. In higher amounts, it acts undoubtedly as a poison, contains a potential for addiction and is responsible for much grief and suffering in the world. But as Paracelsus already knew, it is always a question of dosage level when decided whether something is poisonous or not.

Thousands of studies have been carried out in recent decades in order to explore the effect of alcohol consumption on human health. The majority of epidemiological studies, particularly in the cardiometabolic area, have shown benefits for light to moderate consumption: the risk of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases is lower than in the case of abstinence. In fact, in this regard, wine drinkers have repeatedly outperformed beer and spirits lovers. A variety of metabolic studies have been able to provide plausible explanations of the "protective effect" of moderation, because alcohol at low dosage levels develops favourable effects on lipid and sugar metabolism and reduces the propensity of the body to develop thrombosis and inflammation. And the many ingredients of wine also produce other beneficial immunological and metabolic effects. It has been shown again and again that the acceptable dose for women is lower than for men, which is not only due to the slower degradation of the alcohol but also to the typically lower blood volume of women. On the other hand, anyone who drinks immoderately must expect to contend with numerous, constantly increasing risks - especially in terms of cancer (oral, palate, larynx, oesophagus, breast and bowel cancer).

The two most world-renowned long-term studies on the influence of lifestyle and diet on the health of women, the Nurses 'Health Study I and the Nurses' Health Study II, have been carried out over a number of decades at Harvard University in Boston. The researchers involved have summarized all the significant results relating to the effect of alcohol consumption in the American Journal of Public Health and in so doing have weighed the risks against the benefits. This publication is presented in the current edition of Lifestyle Telegram.
The bottom line: A small glass at least three days a week would seem to be the most sensible option in terms of all the aspects, not least of which would be all-cause mortality.

In relation to this topic, we have also presented a new study by a Dutch working group from the University of Wageningen.
Their analysis of the literature suggests that wine drinkers might outperform beer and spirits lovers not only because of the famous polyphenols and phytochemicals but also because they apparently pursue a much healthier diet.

Greetings from the Mediterranean ...