In the early 90’s, health researchers identified the “French Paradox”.  It seems that the French eat much higher levels of saturated fat found in cheese, heavy cream sauces, etc… yet have lower levels of heart disease than Americans.  A 60 Minutes episode suggested that the magic bullet was the chemical resveratrol found in high levels in red wine.

What followed was a boom in the sale of resveratrol supplements purchased by consumers who believed that concentrated levels of resveratrol might protect them against heart disease and cancer.

The Journal of American Medicine has published the results of the first long-term study on the effects of resveratrol in humans. The conclusion: resveratrol consumption had no positive effect on the rates of heart disease, cancer, and mortality.

What’s the lesson for those of us who love red wine?  There may still be health benefits from drinking red wine in moderation. “Moderation” is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.” So if you feel like some Brie or Camembert, put those resveratrol capsules back in the medicine cabinet and grab a glass of Bordeaux instead.

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