Obviously, good wine tastes great. It’s also quite the tonic apparently: poorliness like sore throats and swollen glands are no match for a glass of Merlot, they say. It doesn’t even have to be that good a wine to have the same effect on our arteries as would a pipe brush.
So, all in all, wine is a bit of a boon, especially the red kind. But in 2015 it got even boon-ier when The Telegraph ran a headline which read: ‘How to lose weight – drink plenty of red wine’. It struck a chord, yes it did, and because we read it in The Telegraph we thought the story which came afterwards must be true.
The more you drink the less you weigh felt like a lottery win. OK maybe not as grand but the announcement still gave us the sense of being impossibly lucky. Never mind the research; this was the Dawn of the Age of Aquarius Marsanne Viognier. It wasn’t for us dim-witted folk to question the science (like, we’ve never done that before).
So we drank even more red wine and to balance things out some white. But it wasn’t long until humdrummy commentators from health watchdogs (yawn) started to prod the claim. They made the point that the study behind the headline was not only American but also had mice as its subject. And those facts started to complicate the lottery win.
The theory was that a chemical called resveratrol found in some red wines (merlot, cabinet sauvignon) could alter the state of the fat in our bodies. This Fat of Altered State would be more easily burnt off by our metabolism and the weight would drop off. Problem #1: the tests were carried out only on mice, and…oops…mice don’t look the same as humans.
On whom or what the research was carried out wasn’t a major focus of The Telegraph’s reporter at the time; cue Problem #2: a scoop is a scoop. And before we knew what was happening we stepped into a new wine revolution. Our fists were raised and clenched around Bordeaux glasses. It was as if lives depended on vino because, well, finally they did. And we made the most of it.
But not long afterwards the well-meaning bods from the NHS properly took our glasses away and with it our fun. Instead, they reminded us of Problems #3-to-Infinity of drinking too much wine: liver disease, kidney failure, heart disease, etcetera and (yes) obesity. Not that that went down very well. Turns out drinking ‘plenty of red wine’ will cause you to put on weight not lose it.
‘A standard 750cl bottle of red wine contains around 570 calories, which is more than is found in two McDonald’s hamburgers,’ we were told. Ah, well. Even the Bon Viveur Fanny Cradock would have admitted that isn’t good.
So while we’d love to be able to say categorically drinking wine causes you to lose weight, we can’t; nor can the people that carried out the study, nor the mice (because they’re drunk). All we can say about red wine is that a moderate dose has some positive health benefits and a big dose will kill you.
While we’re on the subject, why not find out for yourself what awesome reds (and whites) are available from Jed Davies’s Contain-a-Bar. Britain’s number one mobile drinks bar is ready to rock and roll this summer.
PS. Always drink responsibly.