With a lot going on in my personal life this week, and in the coming few weeks, I am struggling daily for balance between my obligations and and aspirations. It is in thinking about that quest for balance in my overloaded schedule that I was reminded of the fact that one of the things we value most about wine is balance. But that is not always achieved.
Balance seems to be at an even greater premium when talking about wine-related research and the health benefits of wine. It seems that any sort of cautionary commentary about the benefits of resveratrol or about moderation and responsibility in alcohol consumption is invariably perceived as “preachy” or judgmental.
It also becomes a buzz kill to point out the overstatements in some wine research (whether that is a transgression of the researchers or the media which has a visceral need to sensationalize or spin anything). Still, I, and people like Joe Roberts (here and here) and Michael Mohammadi try to bring some sober perspective to almost daily announcements of the next health benefit of wine.
It’s not because we want to rain on anyone’s parade. It’s because the headlines can be very misleading. It is also very easy to overlook words like “may”, “might”, “could” or “holds potential” and instead only see: “Wine Prevents Breast Cancer“. Is it any wonder, then, that some medical and health advocacy groups would take a more hard line approach to the burgeoning popularity of wine?
One has to engage in some critical thinking. Are these article reliable journalism or are they a press release – slick PR made to look like editorial work? Sometimes, you have to ask some additional questions, like with this study: if red wine benefits health by “offsetting” or “reversing” some of the things caused by the cholesterol and fats in red meat, why would one want to examine the benefits of red wine paired with turkey meat? And if wine contains alcohol when people consume it, what is lost, overlooked or missed and what is clarified by eliminating the alcohol in the wine served to the rats who eat the turkey?
It pays to read carefully and to read the last paragraph. Most of the time, you’ll see that there is a catch a twist or a caveat that balances all the hype. There is no final word about the health effects of wine consumption. For the time being, we can read, think, asks questions and seek moderation and balance.
Email & Share