We've all been keeping our fingers crossed that science will one day come knocking on our door to deliver the long awaited news that red wine is a magical elixir that will cure all that ails us. Unfortunately, science recently came a knocking with some news of a different and unwanted variety — that red wine may do pretty much nothing for your metabolism if you're a healthy woman who isn't obese.
The study found that resveratrol, the part of red wine that has been previously shown to improve metabolic function in obese and diabetic people, has no observable effect on healthy non-obese women, reports the New York Times.
"The result don't surprise me. As I understand it, the amount of resveratrol in a glass of wine is WAY below the amount required in animal studies, or cell culture work, to have any effect," says Thomas Wolever, a professor from the University of Toronto's department of nutritional sciences.
Wolever says that though moderate amounts of alcohol itself may be beneficial, "I would tend not to recommend moderate alcohol consumption because one never knows who might become an alcoholic on the basis of such a recommendation."
The study -- which will be published in the current issue of Cell Metabolism -- looked at 29 postmenopausal women of regular weight over a 12-week period in a randomized, double-blinded trial. The women were given 75 milligrams a day of a resveratrol supplement or a placebo pill.
Levels of resveratrol rose in the group given supplements, but there were no differences between them and the placebo group in regards to glucose tolerance, body composition or resting metabolic rate. Long story short — the resveratrol had no discernible effect on anything to do with metabolic function.
Sigh. Say it ain't so, science.
And yet it may be a tad early for wine lovers to completely throw in the towel, because, as senior author of the study Samuel Klein points out.
"We only show that metabolically healthy people get no benefits to begin with. We have no way of knowing whether it will prevent future metabolic complications."
So perhaps red wine guzzling may positively affect future metabolic processes — you know, somewhere down the road. We just don't know. So for now, just go ahead and assume that the wine helps. Maybe.
Also, for those of you who would like to continue to justify the occasional glass of red by quoting an academic paper, red wine has popped up in a plethora of other studies that seem to indicate it will aid in all manner of ailments, including mobility issues, bone density loss and muscle atrophy.
And booze in general -- we can include beer and spirits here -- has been found to benefit your heart by raising the "good" cholesterol and reducing the formation of blood clots, according to the Mayo Clinic.
But remember, it's only helpful in moderation, which means about one to two small glasses of beer or wine a day -- NOT nothing all week and then two bottles of Chianti on Friday night.
Watch the video below for a discussion about women and their relationship to alcohol.