Is wine actually good for your health?

The unmasking of fraud by a leading researcher into the health benefits of wine has called into question the entire body of knowledge about the fermented grape.

Jeremy Hobson: The University of Connecticut said this week that one of its scientists falsified data in a new study about red wine. The study found that drinking red wine slowed the aging process.

Marketplace's Eve Troeh has more.


Eve Troeh: Worst case scenario: One specific wine grape compound in the corrupted study turns out not to be a silver bullet. Best case scenario: Plenty of studies still show that drinking some wine is a net positive, says Leslie Nolen at Radial Research.

Leslie Nolen: We may not know how it works, but we feel pretty confident that a small amount of wine everyday is for most people beneficial from a health standpoint.

She says American consumers often cling to health studies to justify things that are simply everyday pleasures in other cultures.

Nolen: Making it OK to consume something we liked anyway has obvious appeal to us. I mean who's going to falsify data that shows broccoli is really, really, really good for you?

Americans have been drinking more wine for 17 years straight, says Gladys Horiuchi at the advocacy group The Wine Institute. But raising a glass "to your health" is not a primary market driver.

Gladys Horiuchi: I think most people are choosing it because they simply like the taste, and how it improves food and the overall dining experience.

Besides, by federal law, winemakers can't advertise any medical benefit for their pinot, cabarnet or syrah.

I'm Eve Troeh for Marketplace.

About the author

Eve Troeh is News Director at WWNO-FM in New Orleans, La., helping build the first public radio news department in the station’s 40-year history. She reported for the Marketplace Sustainability Desk from 2010 to 2013.

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