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New Study Reports No Health Benefits from Red Wine and Chocolate

Update Date: May 13, 2014 11:34 AM EDT
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Based on many studies, researchers have concluded that consuming red wine and dark chocolate in moderation can have positive effects on health. These studies identified the compound, resveratrol, as the main contributor to good health after finding evidence that resveratrol can help with inflammation. In a new study, however, researchers argued that the hype behind red wine and chocolate has been widely exaggerated. The researchers discovered that red wine had no impact on health.

For this study, the team monitored the health of 783 older people living in two towns from the Chianti region of Italy. The participants reported their daily diets and gave urine samples, which the researchers used to measure resveratrol levels. Throughout the nine years of the study, the team reported that 268 men and women died, 174 people were diagnosed with heart disease and 34 developed cancer. When the researchers examined the potential link between resveratrol levels and risks of death, heart disease or cancer, they found that no such link existed.

"The thinking was that certain foods are good for you because they contain resveratrol. We didn't find that at all," Professor Richard Semba from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said reported in BBC News. "The story of resveratrol turns out to be another case where you get a lot of hype about health benefits that doesn't stand the test of time."

The team concluded that if there are any benefits from consuming red wine, dark chocolate and berries, the effects could be a result of a combination of different ingredients in one's diet. However, the data did not reveal how much people should intake to yield beneficial effects or what combination of ingredients they should eat to get these healthful effects.

"It's just that the benefits, if they are there, must come from other polyphenols or substances found in those foodstuffs," Semba concluded, according to Forbes. "These are complex foods, and all we really know from our study is that the benefits are probably not due to resveratrol."

The study, "Resveratrol Levels and All-Cause Mortality in Older Community-Dwelling Adults," was published in the JAMA Internal Medicine.

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