Friday, March 2, 2007

Wine drinkers may live longer - fact or fiction?

Martinette Streppel, a graduate student at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, and colleagues studied data on 1,373 men living in the Dutch town of Zutphen. The men were followed from 1960 (when they were 40-60 years old), until death or June 2000, whichever came first. Men who drank any type of alcohol, in moderate amounts, tended to live longer, and the wine drinkers lived longest of all. The study was presented in Orlando, Florida, at the American Heart Association's 47th annual conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention.

Compared with no-drinkers, men who reported moderate drinking (less than two glasses per day) of any type of alcohol were 33 percent less likely to die of any cause and 28 percent less likely to die of heart problems during the study. Also on average, wine drinkers lived four years longer than men who drank no wine or other alcohol. The only draw back to this study was the data don't show the men's other lifestyle habits, including diet, exercise, and smoking.

For years, scientists have been trying to quantify or explain the "French Paradox" - the low incidence of heart disease among the French people, who eat a relatively high-fat diet - and maybe this study can help confirm the health benefits of daily consumption of red wine. Cheers.