The esteemed author of the French Paradox, researcher Serge Renaud, PhD, has said, “There is no other drug that is so efficient at preventing heart disease as moderate intake of alcohol.” A corollary to the French Paradox is the “American Paradox.” We have spent billions in this country to match and surpass the French in health success. But we have failed miserably because our focus is on intervention rather than prevention and we have a persistent theme in this country that alcohol consumption of any kind is a dreaded and unwelcome threat to our well being. Our latest health escapade is reducing trans-fat, all the while ignoring the fact that our health is in the glass. We continue to support efforts to isolate the healthy components of wine so that we can achieve the benefits without actually drinking. A group of British scientists wrote in the respected medical journal, Lancet, “If wine is ever found to contain a constituent protective against cardiovascular disease, then we consider it almost a sacrilege that this constituent be isolated. The medicine is already in a highly palatable form.” They got that right.
Using recent research presentations at the 4th International Wine and Heart Health Summit in Napa Valley, California and culling pertinent scientific information on alcoholic beverages and health, I have attempted to simplify and summarize the current knowledge in a layman-friendly format. It is hoped that this critical review can provide further clarity and stimulate the dissemination of this valuable public health message.
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