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Showing posts from July, 2010

Wine is a food: New USDA Guidelines

There is a chapter in my book “Age Gets Better with Wine” called “Wine is a Food” because what I found in my research for the book that having wine with meals is key to unlocking its healthful properties. There is no question that people use food as a drug, hence the term “comfort food.” I would even make the case that. Given the epidemic of morbid obesity, the effects of food abuse far outweigh those of alcohol abuse. So if wine is indeed a food, what is the recommended daily allowance?


Though authorities have long shied away from explicitly recommending that people drink wine for better health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently updated its policy recommendations to reflect the ever-increasing evidence of wine’s health benefits. Notably, mentions of the benefits of moderate drinking have begun to replace the admonishments about the ill effects of alcohol abuse. These two drinking patterns are distinct and separate, though it seems to have taken some time to reach the point …

The weight is over: new hope for the wine diet

I write this post with a bit of trepidation, because anytime we get in to the topic of wine and weight loss the inevitable controversy about resveratrol diet pills comes up. In fact it is the most recent findings about resveratrol and diet that prompted me to write this, and like so many previous reports it seems to have been widely over-interpreted. Supplement manufacturers are all over it despite the fact that like nearly every previous study, it wasn’t done on humans.

The study in question was however done on lemurs, a type of primate, so in theory they are closer to humans than lab mice or fruit flies. There is however an important difference, in that these lemurs have a variable body temperature regulation system such that their metabolism varies with the time of year. In winter they gain weight, which provided researchers with a convenient model to study the effects of resveratrol. What was found with resveratrol supplementation was increased satiety (i.e. less hunger and eating…

Eye believe: resveratrol may prevent blindness

Here’s a word that you should know: angiogenesis. Sounds like a cover of a classic Rolling Stones song by Phil Collins’ former band, but what it refers to is the growth of new blood vessels. Sometimes this is a good thing, sometimes not. In the case of some causes of blindness, abnormal angiogenesis is a very bad thing indeed.

Resveratrol, the superstar molecule from red wine, has long been known to inhibit angiogenesis. This may be one of the reasons why it fights cancer, since tumors rely on ingrowth of new blood vessels in order to expand. Abnormal angiogenesis is also involved in some causes of age-related blindness such as diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration, conditions affecting thousands each year. A recent study suggests that resveratrol’s ability to inhibit angiogenesis might help to save eyesight for many.

Like many such studies, this one was done in mice. These poor subjects had laser treatments to destroy some of the blood vessels in their retinas. Normally, the…