I’ve frequently wondered about the health benefits that come with drinking red wine in moderation. I’m familiar with the saying “a glass of wine with dinner is good for you” but I’ve always had my doubts. How could alcohol, something with so much negative connotations, be good for somebody?
Null Hypothesis: Red wine consumption does not benefit one’s health
Alternative Hypothesis: Red wine consumption has benefits to one’s health.
When I first searched for the benefits of red wine I was met with an endless supply of information. The first article I really dove into however, didn’t have to do with people. It had to do with mice! in 2015, Samantha Olson published an article on an experiment conducting the effects of wine on mice. The first step was to fatten up the mice. For ten weeks the mice were fed a high fat diet in order to plumpen them up for this experiment. Once fattened, half the mice were given extracts from red wine Pinot Noir grapes daily, and the other half were given regular mouse chew instead. Over the next several weeks the results began to trend in the favor of wine. The researchers noticed the mice that were given grapes had less stored liver fat and lower blood sugar. Unfortunately, the mice grew ill from diabetes and died as a result of the beginning of the experiment. While the mice died, Olson still concluded that their study helped infer positive benefits of red wine and not the opposite.
This article was informative but I questioned some of the results. I was familiar with mice being used for human experiments, but I had never heard of the entirety of the control groups dying! The ending of this experiment left me feeling peculiar about the result and I continued to research.
The next article I found was written by Mandy Oaklander in 2015. Oaklander was researching an experiment done at the Ben-Gurion University in Israel. This experiment was unique, as the scientists had very particular rules for their subjects. They only chose people who had “well controlled type two diabetes and a low risk of alcohol abuse”. People with type two diabetes are more likely than the general population to develop cardiovascular disease and to have lower levels of heart-protective HDL cholesterol. They eventually found 224 subjects that met their criteria and didn’t drink wine. They split the subjects up into three random but equal groups.
Group 1 was made to drink five ounces of mineral water every day for two years.
Group 2 was made to drink five ounces of white wine every day for two years.
And yes, you guessed it! Group 3 was made to drink five ounces of red wine every day for two years.
All subjects had a very similar Mediterranean diet and while some of the food they ate varied, the scientists did a good job of avoiding confounding variables with diet. Throughout the testing, the subjects took questionnaires, had follow-up appointments, and had their blood drawn for analysis three times. This helped give scientists the most accurate read possible for the given situation. At the end of the experiment, the results were clear. Red wine drinkers had significantly increased levels of good HDL cholesterol and had beneficial cholesterol ratio’s when compared the water group. The red wine group was also the only group to experience a significant drop in components of metabolic syndication. Lastly, those who drank either kind of wine were much more likely to report good sleep than the water group. Oaklander concluded that while the exact details of the relationship cannot be identified- wine certainly has health benefits.
I was somewhat skeptical after reading my first article but this second one really helped me answer my own question. The research here, for people unhealthier than the average, suggest that their bodies enjoy red wine and the benefits that come with it. I believe it’s safe to accept the alternative hypothesis which states that red wine consumption does indeed have benefits to one’s health. I also believe it is important to remember that the second experiment was acted out with five ounces, or one cup, each night. Nobody is suggesting that wine in excess in good for you.
Here’s What Happens When You Drink Red Wine Every Night