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Recently Reported Health Benefits of Red Wine are Dead Wrong


Gregory J. Rummo

The wine industry received a boost in late August, courtesy of the medical community, when researchers announced that drinking red wine may prolong life.

The compound, resveratol, found in grapes, peanuts and red wine was shown to extend the lifespan of yeast cells by up to 80 percent. Experiments on worms, flies and mice are next.

Why winos don’t live to be 130 wasn’t addressed in the study—more on this point later.

The research, published in the online journal “Nature,” is being conducted by Dr. David Sinclair, an assistant professor of pathology at the Harvard Medical School.

In a Reuters news story, Dr. Sinclair was quoted as saying, “Not many people know about it yet, but those who do have almost invariably changed their drinking habits, that is, they drink more red wine.”

I honestly wonder if the wine industry is funding this study. There’s a subtle deception going on here. Did you catch it?

It’s not the wine that’s the magic elixir. It’s the peanut and the grape. And one can eat a bunch of grapes, drink a glass of red or purple grape juice or make a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich to experience the same life-prolonging effects.

Here’s a question for Dr. Sinclair: While the resveratol in red wine is prolonging a person’s life, what is the alcohol doing?

Alcohol destroys liver and brain cells. Why bother living a longer life if your brain is half dead and your liver is on life support?

Additionally, consider these statistics:

According to the 1993 National Household Survey, 103 million people in the United States are current drinkers and 11 million are heavy drinkers. Alcohol-related crimes in the United States account for 54 percent of murders and attempted murders, 68 percent of manslaughters, 52 percent of rape/sexual assaults, and 48 percent of robberies.

40,000 babies are born each year with birth defects from alcohol abuse.  In families with one alcoholic parent, the child is 34 percent more likely to be alcoholic than children of non-alcoholics.

Social costs of alcohol addiction amount to $100 billion per year in lost productivity and related health costs.

7 out of 10 adults drink alcohol. Of these, one out of seven is an alcoholic.  On top of these, there are an estimated 25,000 alcohol-related fatalities on the nation’s highways every year. Obviously, none of those people lived a longer life and in fact many were innocent victims and teenagers whose lives were tragically cut short.

We don’t need some doctor in a white coat from Harvard telling us to drink more red wine to extend our lives. Remember, doctors are only licensed to practice medicine. Let them practice on each other.

The health benefits of the peanut and grape are well-known—maybe not all of the molecular nuances that Dr. Sinclair and his group are attempting to characterize—but there has been enough data collected to convince people like the popular radio personality Paul Harvey. He has been extolling the health benefits of Welch’s grape juice to his listeners for years.

Common sense ought to be enough to dictate a logical course of action: Eat more grapes, drink grape juice, add peanuts to your diet and avoid alcoholic beverages. You might just live longer.

And if you aren’t willing to trust Paul Harvey’s advice, try the wisdom of King Solomon who wrote: “Wine is a mocker…whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”


Gregory J. Rummo is a syndicated columnist. Visit his website,

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