BEX PRE-ARTICLE NOTE:
This one is personal! People are mad that scientists focus on the health benefits of wine, as lopsided representation if in a conference. I am pretty sure that the bad effects of alcohol have been communicated to all living members of the public. It's no secret. That's alcohol. But what this article misses is the concept of differentiation of the health qualities in wine VERSUS other alcohols which have less or no positive effects. Nobody is suggesting we give up our meals and drink wine all day... as enticing as that may sound on occasion. It's known and repeated that moderation is key.
But the point of my blog and this conference I can only assume is to explore the glorious facets of this beautiful little fermented fruit juice and the fact that it does offer health benefits alongside its joyous accompaniment to our time with friends and loved ones. We're not calling it medicine, though if it were, it would be the most delicious one around! But if you go out to dinner and consider a gin martini appertif versus wine - you'll do your body more justice with the wine, if not your taste buds too. If you are one to have a daily drink at the end of the work day, they say having a glass of wine versus beer or none at all is the healthiest choice.
Sharing the health benefits and research of scientists as related to wine is to me, a great public service. If we can move someone from hard liquor to fine wine, that's better for their health, both emotionally and physically. It's not just about the beverage choice, but the environment that corresponds and follows one's beverage choice. Wine in general sports a healthier and more moderated atmosphere than one filled with hard liquor. And if it is filled with beer, it is also likely filled with beer bellies.
And just like saying what you feel is an important part of life, so is a glass or two of wine per day, and both should be well crafted and in moderation.
Distaste arises on wine health claims
Public health experts have branded a ''wine health'' conference a misleading industry attempt to influence government policy by presenting one-sided evidence on wine's health benefits. Run by the Australian Wine Research Institute, a body which ''supports grape and wine producers'', the July conference in Sydney will host world experts for ''stimulating exchange of scientific information'' on the health impacts of drinking wine.
Professor Mike Daube, director of the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth, said he was concerned that evidence of the negative health effects of drinking would not be presented at the conference. ''At a time when there is so much concern about problems caused by alcohol, here we have a group that by promoting the message that wine is healthy is trying to influence the public policy debate. Nobody should see this as objective science. It's all pretty shonky,'' Professor Daube said.
''The National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines are clear that any health benefits of wine have probably been overestimated, are mainly related to middle-aged or older people, only occur at levels of around half a drink a day anyway, and that people should not be encouraged to drink for health benefits.
''Conference chair Creina Stockley, from the Australian Wine Research Institute, described the criticism of the event as ''nonsense''. She said speakers would not be paid for their appearance, they were all scientists, and that research on positive and negative health effects of wine consumption would be discussed...
Brian Vandenberg, senior policy adviser at Cancer Council Victoria, said the event reflected ''panic'' in the wine industry. ''They're getting desperate as consumers become more aware of the risks of alcohol so they're making more claims about the health benefits,'' he said.''We saw that with low-carb beers. When health groups pointed out that they're just as fattening as regular beer, sales dropped pretty massively.
''Alcohol is packed with kilojoules, it leads to weight gain and it's linked to many cancers, so a conference about the health benefits of wine is about as credible as a conference about the health benefits of smoking or saturated fat...