In 1992 Harvard researchers touted red wine as one of the "eight proven ways to reduce coronary heart disease risk."
In 2001 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it could lower the risk of stroke.
In 2003 the American Journal of Gastroenterology found evidence that it reduces ulcer-causing bacteria.
The following year Harvard Medical School said it has anti-aging effects, while Australian researchers determined that it may decrease the risk of ovarian cancer.
All signs pointed to the same conclusion: a glass of red wine a day really does keep the doctor away.
But local dietitians still aren't quite ready to embrace red wine as a health food, saying it's not so much the wine as the grapes it's made of that have the potential to improve a person's well-being. "It looks like the major benefits first come out of the grape skin itself and the seeds," says Kate Rountree, a dietitian at Southwest Surgical Weight Management Center on Southwest Medical Center's campus. It's the antioxidants, called flavonoids, that pack the most nutritional value, she adds.
In particular the antioxidant resveratrol, which is prevalent in grapes' skin, might inhibit tumor development in certain cancers and aid in the formation of nerve cells, which scientists believe could be helpful for diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, according to the Yale-New Haven Hospital's online publication Nutrition Advisor. Dryer reds pack the biggest flavonoid punch with Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Syrah and Pinot Noirs having more than merlots and red zinfandels. White wine has the least amount.
Despite the long list of studies that appear to extol wine's virtues (white wine is gaining traction as well), Rountree points out that those studies have yet to show a definitive link between wine and better health, saying she finds the word "may" in just about every one she reads. "It may boost your good cholesterol, which is HDL. It may help to lower your bad cholesterol, which is LDL," she says. "Actually, it may help to prevent LDL from forming."
Lafayette General's Nutrition Services Supervisor Rosalind Allen agrees. "People tend to take it at face value, but for every study that says yes, there is another one that says no," she says. "There haven't been any studies to positively correlate it," she continues, "but they also can't say it doesn't."
For any non-drinker, there is certainly no reason to rush out and buy a wine decanter. "No studies suggest that people start drinking," Allen says. "That's the No. 1 disclaimer you'll see on every study." Local health experts say people would get the same benefits from grape juice made from dark red grapes and a diet that includes exercise, fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
The concern, says Allen, is that people who have health conditions may be easily swayed by the studies. Even a recommendation that it's OK to consume a moderate amount of wine is limited to individuals with a clean bill of health, she says. Many medical and social conditions are exacerbated by alcohol. "It can have the reverse effect," she warns. Pancreatitis, liver disease, certain cancers, hypertension, depression and heart disease may be worsened by alcohol. Other studies suggest alcohol consumption is associated with cancer risk, may increase triglycerides and result in weight gain because of its empty calories.
The one consistency in each study is that a single serving of red wine (one 4- to 5-ounce glass for women and two glasses for men) is all that's recommended on a daily basis. And even if the wine is not as healthy as the studies suggest, a 5-ounce glass a day isn't enough to adversely affect an able-bodied person. But three or four glasses might. So once that single-serving line is crossed, any advantages can be far outweighed by the negative effects of alcohol. Additionally, some people mistakenly think they can drink a week's worth of wine in one night and get the same benefits. "Let's say you don't drink during the week," Rountree says. "That certainly doesn't mean you can stockpile four or five glasses you missed on Friday night."
You may not like all of “it,” but U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, unlike many of her colleagues, isn't sitting around twiddling her thumbs in Congress.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Struggling to preserve their Senate majority, Democrats are attacking Republicans over Medicare and Social Security in Louisiana, spending cuts in Arkansas, off-shore jobs in New Hampshire and women's issues in Colorado.
Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro says he "can't wait" to play against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The heat keeps rising for Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal as a new slate of corruption allegations surfaced this week.
If opposing defenses sell out to stop the Packers' passing game, they risk being gashed by powerful running back Eddie Lacy, a New Orleans-area native.
At the horn the officiating crew trotted to the tunnel and left security personnel to clean up after them.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Sign "ninjas" cleaning up clutter; NYC doctor positive for Ebola; Ferguson grand jury decision nears; and more national and international news for Friday, October 24, 2014.
We can safely assume incumbent Chief K.P. Gibson isn’t too worried about this challenger.
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain too close to call.
The Baton Rouge Republican has repeatedly battled a perception within his own party that he perhaps wasn't the best choice to carry the GOP banner.
Hot style for fans (and beyond)
Four bedroom Acadian or three bedroom traditional
Prestigious honor annually recognizes a single attorney for excellence in public interest/pro bono work.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
"I have never seen anyone who worked harder for our people than Sen. Mary Landrieu, so I would like to share a synopsis of a few of the many things she has done to help Louisiana."
Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
Three bedroom Acadian or a two bedroom town home
Ready to geaux in purple and gold
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
The recently established Downtown Lafayette Restaurant & Bar Association will host a special viewing of the upcoming New Orleans Saints taking on the Carolina Panthers in the open air of Parc Sans Souci on Thursday, Oct. 30.
Belief in a national outbreak of the Ebola zombie virus is becoming more of a threat every day, and The Hayride — Louisiana’s one true bastion for unrelentingly conservative political commentaries — thought it wise to share a certain special someone's “important message” with readers Tuesday on what to do when, not if, it comes.