‘Fatal till the last drop..’
‘Experts see red over wine 'myth'..’
‘Red wine doesn't protect drinkers from heart disease - report..’
‘Red wine 'doesn't protect heart'..’
‘Alcohol of Any Kind is Harmful to Heart Health..’
‘Australian medical experts slam 'myth' that red wine is good for you..’
‘Think Twice in Taking More Red Wine..’
‘Red wine has no special protective qualities, say health experts..’
‘Alcohol is Bad For Health..’
These are headings of some of the media reports that would make a smoker rush out for a pack of cigarettes to ‘sooth his nerves’ while a non smoker may wonder about the hundreds of studies- NOT news reports, conducted on wine and alcohol drinkers for the last couple of decades which evidenced that drinking in moderation is good for practically every part of your body, especially heart except perhaps the colon and risk of breast cancer where there may be a minor increase of risk even if the intake is moderate. Countries like Italy, France and Spain where wine has been an integral part of food culture would probably trash the report as motivated by some agenda.
The coalition, whose members include the Australian Drug Foundation, the Victorian Heart Foundation and the Cancer Council of Victoria, released the report on Sunday to coincide with the United Nations meeting to promote international efforts to counter non-communicable disease. It is reportedly using the report to step up pressure on the government to rethink its refusal to give serious consideration to the reform of alcohol taxation at next month's tax summit.
Kathy Bell, CEO of the Heart Foundation said it did not recommend red wine or other alcoholic drinks to prevent or treat cardiovascular disease, cancer or liver cirrhosis. ''After reviewing all the scientific evidence, it appears any positive effects of alcohol in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease have been hugely overestimated,'' she said. ''In particular, red wine has no special protective qualities.'' However, she has reportedly not referred to any study singling out her claims.
Todd Harper, the CEO of Cancer Council Victoria, said statistics show a sharp increase in wine consumption, helped by the lighter taxes on wine. The government could help fix the problem by introducing an effective alcohol tax which could lead the world in reducing alcohol-related disease. The tax summit would be an ideal time for the government to develop a system to tax drinks based on alcohol content, placing heavier taxes on more harmful products.
Mark Metherell, a Health Correspondent at the Sydney Morning Herald wrote in the SMH as well as The Age two similar articles on Sunday, followed by several others picking up the storyline from these articles. If the article were written in India, it would perhaps be branded as an article for some vested interests and for monetary gains, especially as it underlines the stance taken by The Alcohol Policy Coalition and has a specific purpose of influencing the government in taxation policy on alcohol based on the content rather than value, known as effective alcohol policy, as the wine prices keep crashing down because of increased supply incommensurate with demand.
While the real motivation of releasing the report barely a few weeks ahead of the Tax Summit might come out in the weeks to come, the Australian producers may face a more harrowing time in the immediate future, at least till the government announces its alcohol tax policy. When the ‘60- minutes’ programme brought out the existence of ‘The French Paradox’ in November 1990 claiming the benefits of red wine, red wine had disappeared from the supermarket shelves overnight and the residual effect remains substantially not only in the USA but most wine consuming countries. The short term negative impact of these reports cannot be ruled out.
At least one thing emerges as common to both the proponents of wine in moderation and the detractors like the Coalition. All studies with findings suggesting positive benefits of wine recommend some more studies to come to a final conclusion while recommending no more than two glasses of wine every day. The Coalition too, while issuing advisories like, ‘fatal till the last drop,’ and ‘red repudiated to the last drop’ also suggest- according to Bell, ‘to reduce your lifetime risk of alcohol-related harm, you should drink no more than two standard drinks on any day.’
Since most doctors eulogising the health benefits of wine recommend no more than two glasses of red wine a day (a stand taken by delWine for several years), one may take the news reports with a pinch of salt or a couple of green olives and stick to our recommendations of not more than two glasses of red wine for men and one glass for women-editor