You can't imagine how disappointed I was when I read the latest headlines last week claiming that red wine may not be so hot for your health after all. Funny, I mostly drink white myself, but it was so comforting to know that just one of life's consumable guilty pleasures was actually "good for you."
In this San Francisco Chronicle article, leading gastroenterologist Michael Apstein debunks the myths that red wine prevents heart disease:
- all the "evidence" is from observational studies, which can never determine cause and effect
- other foods also contain antioxidants, including the much-hyped resveratrol present in wine, and are no more or less important to heart health
- moreover, "scientists do not know the exact relevance of antioxidants in preventing heart disease. If they play only a minor role, increasing them even a thousand-fold would be of no clinical importance. Same with any wine-related factor."
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OK, OK, we get it: wine does not necessarily have magical health powers. But the myths do run wide and deep, especially for those of us with diabetes.
Check out this Discussion over at DiabeticConnect. A member named Sheryl reports reading that half a glass of red wine with your meal will keep your blood glucose down. "I'm not a wine drinker but I went and bought a bottle of Merlot and have been drinking a 1/2 glass with dinner and getting wonderful results," she posted.
173 replies and counting later, the community appears to be on a holy mission to "find the perfect wine." Those whose glucose levels did NOT go down were not dissuaded. There's even some discussion of how to consume the wine on an empty stomach. "If you were to read the articles on red wine and diabetes I think you will agree this is one thing we can for ourselves and feel good about it," Sheryl interjects at some point. "Keep us posted, it's very exciting to see people get good results with something so simple, who would have thought!"
I'm with you, Sheryl. Moderate amounts of wine seem to be a good thing for my BG numbers. Of course it could be the power of suggestion, or the fact that a glass or two every night with dinner is incredibly relaxing, and it makes me so happy. And up until now, I also believed it was doing my heart some good, like with those baby aspirins I'm supposed to be taking every morning.
The thing about living in California is that the wine is so cheap and tasty. There are so many things we can't enjoy eating and drinking with this stupid disease. So please don't take the wine away, Doc!
Along the same lines, I've weaned myself off milk chocolate and trained myself to like the extra-dark stuff because of the supposed health benefits. Oh please, please, Medical Experts, don't do away with that one now, too!