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."
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Casual cool for Thanksgiving
Shop Lafayette goes strong
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
A divided 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal reversed a Lafayette district judge’s ruling absolving the co-owner of a New Iberia accounting firm of liability in an embezzlement case.
Our View: It’s reasonable, temporary and invests in Lafayette’s future.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
Three bedroom in Port Barre or two bedroom in Opelousas
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
“I am only getting a little nervous about two projects — the proposed Sasol GTL facility [not the new ethylene plant] and the proposed G2X facility — both in Lake Charles. They need a hefty difference between oil and natural gas prices to make sense.”
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Lower oil prices also might slow the growth of oil production in parts of the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because it will no longer be so profitable.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.