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It's official, wine is not good for us

It seems that the studies that proved wine was beneficial to us failed to mention the exact quantity that needs to be drunk

ANDREW J. LINN

What has been hailed as the definitive verdict on the benefits and dangers of alcohol, red wine specifically, was published last week.

According to Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, liver specialist and chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK, red wine is not good for us.

We all welcomed previous scientific studies demonstrating that the resveratrol content of wine may be positive, but it has been shown that we would need to drink it in pint glasses to have any positive cardiovascular outcomes.

There is no question that the polyphenol in wine, via the resveratrol element, is good for us, but the studies involved giving mice such enormous amounts, equivalent to 100 bottles of wine in one go, that it is surprising they didn't die of shock.

Polyphenols are not unique to red wine: they are found in blueberries and other red fruit. Nor is it accurate to maintain that we need to drink red wine to get the health benefits.

Alcohol consumption causes about 200 medical conditions, so it is incorrect to believe we can drink to get the benefits without also increasing our risk of other types of diseases.

The World Heart Foundation published a research summary and policy brief in January which showed that alcohol is definitely not good for cardiovascular health.

And what about abstainers? Around one in five adults don't drink at all, and research has shown them to be on average in worse health than people who are moderate drinkers. But nobody should ever drink because they think it's good for them