Which Is Healthier, the Wining or Dining?

By Raloff, Janet | Science News, January 23, 1999 | Go to article overview

Which Is Healthier, the Wining or Dining?


Raloff, Janet, Science News


People who regularly drink small to moderate amounts of wine tend to have fewer cardiovascular problems than teetotalers or people who prefer other alcoholic libations, research has shown. One nagging question always remained, however. Do these apparent heart benefits derive primarily from the wine--or from one or more associated aspects of a wine drinker's lifestyle?

A study now suggests that dining and other habits may prove at least as beneficial as any wine consumption. If true, sparing the heart again becomes a lot more complicated than prescribing a daily glass of the house red.

Numerous studies have shown that wine and other alcoholic beverages effect changes in the blood that have been linked to reduction of an individual's risk of heart disease (SN: 5/4/96, p. 286). Three years ago, Danish researchers also showed that people with some of the highest risks for heart disease seem to get the biggest benefit from regularly downing alcohol (SN: 3/30/96, p. 197).

Now, another Danish team has data to suggest why, among those who drink alcohol, wine drinkers still appear to come out on top, heart-wise. Overall, the researchers find that wine drinkers--independent of their alcohol consumption--possess the heart-healthiest habits.

Epidemiologist Anne Tjonneland of the Danish Cancer Society in Copenhagen and her colleagues analyzed the lifestyles of almost 50,000 men and women between the ages of 50 and 64. All were part of the new Diet, Cancer, and Health Study.

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Which Is Healthier, the Wining or Dining?
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