Posts Tagged ‘Myths’

Red wine is good for you!

A natural ingredient found in red wine, resveratrol, can help fight off diseases associated with age, a new study shows.
Resveratrol, found in the skin of grapes, has long been touted for its anti-ageing properties.
Researchers are studying this natural compound to help them design better anti-aging drugs.
They think it works by increasing the activity of sirtuins, a family of proteins found throughout the body, which are believed to combat diseases related to getting older, like type 2 diabetes, cancer or Alzheimer’s. Specifically, resveratrol increases the activity of SIRT1, which acts to make our mitochondria — the cell part that turns food into energy in our cells — more efficient, the study says.
The direct link between resveratrol and the SIRT1 protein has been made before, both by the lead author of this latest paper, Harvard genetics professor David Sinclair, and others.
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Of all the health-related questions that end up in the Wine Spectator electronic mailbag, some get asked with a you-can-set-your-watch-by-it type of regularity. We’ve answered them before, and we’ll answer them again, but I thought I’d address these topics here with the help of Dr. Andrew Waterhouse, professor of enology at the University of California at Davis, to weigh in on the three most enduring topics.

Health Myth No. 1: Wine contains a lot of sugar

It’s easy to see where this theory may have started. Grapes have sugar. Wine is made from grapes. Therefore, all wine has sugar? Not so. “If a wine is considered dry, the amount of sugar consumed is quite small,” said Waterhouse. The fermentation process for dry wines eliminates almost all the sugar and converts it to alcohol.

Let’s go to the data: The USDA Nutrition Database lists the amount of sugar in a 5-ounce serving of red table wine at just 0.91 grams. Not to pick on orange juice, but an average 8-ounce serving of the stuff contains 20.9 grams of sugar, so 5 ounces of orange juice contains nearly 14 times as much sugar as the same amount of dry red wine.

However, if you’re a diabetic looking to understand how alcohol affects your blood sugar levels, that’s an entirely different question complicated by the rest of your diet, activity levels and insulin therapy. Even medical practitioners have divided outlooks here: Waterhouse pointed out that in the United States, the convention has been to discourage diabetic patients from drinking, but not so in the United Kingdom. (Recent research suggests that moderate alcohol consumption, which can temporarily lower blood sugar levels, is associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes.) If you’re concerned about how wine affects your blood sugar levels, you should talk to your doctor to find the best approach for you.

Health Myth No. 2: Sulfites in wine cause headaches

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Some wine nonsense never seems to disappear

 

A fellow came up to me the other day and said, “How long do you think such-and-such wine will live?”

My initial impulse was to reply, “How the hell do I know?” But that, of course, is hardly what he wanted to hear.

So I blathered on about cellaring conditions (cold slows maturation), cultural differences in taste (the French and Italians prefer younger wines while the English like their wines well-aged) and, finally, the sheer impossibility of predicting the life trajectory of any wine.

I should have saved my breath. “I don’t think the wine has structure,” he said, full of self-assurance. That, he asserted, was the predictor of longevity.

Where does this stuff come from? And, more important, why does it persist? It’s astonishing how certain beliefs are the undead of wine, forever resurrected and roaming about. For example:

The Structure Myth. Structure is no more a predictor of a wine’s future “career success” than your fourth grade attendance record. So why did this business about “structure” become such a devoutly held article of truth?

The myth of structure derives from a long-held and mistaken notion about tannins. Time was, wine drinkers looked at tannin levels in wines, especially red Bordeaux, as a marker of longevity.
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