Wine ‘Cellars’ Tout Health Benefits

BY Courtney Huckabay
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There are a few facts about how wine consumption really affects your health. The latest evidence suggests it may help your heart, but it might also raise your risk of cancer slightly. What is clear is that drinking in moderation is absolutely key for wine to be at all healthful, according to an article from Consumer Reports.

The Benefits

"No matter which studies you look at, any purported benefits associated with drinking are related specifically to “moderate” consumption: one drink per day for women and up to two for men," Sally Wadyka wrote in Consumer Reports. "(Men are allowed more to account for their generally larger size and differences in the way they metabolize, or break down, alcohol.)"

"For wine, one drink is 5 ounces. And because wine glasses come in so many different shapes and sizes, it can be tough to judge just when to stop when you’re pouring wine."

Wineries and wine retailers can promote these health benefits to encourage more wine purchases! The most recent AudienceSCAN survey found 24.7% of Americans drink wine at least once per week.

"If you stick to those amounts, the evidence is pretty clear that alcohol can boost your heart health. “The association between moderate alcohol intake and lower risk of myocardial infarction [heart attack] has been studied in well-​designed observational studies for nearly 50 years,” says Kenneth Mukamal, M.D., M.P.H., a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School who has researched this topic extensively."

"And the studies have been pretty consistently positive over the decades. One from 2003 found that men who were moderate drinkers were 30 to 35 percent less likely to have a heart attack than those who didn’t drink at all. Data released last year from the long-​running Nurses' Health Study showed that moderate drinking was associated with a 23 percent lower risk of heart disease in women."

Alcohol affects platelets, acting like a mild blood thinner,” Mukamal explains. Moderate alcohol consumption also raises HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind) and lowers levels of the blood component fibrinogen, which may also help keep blood thinner.

Wine Drinkers will be sure to respond to the healthy aspects of drinking their favorite adult beverage in newspaper advertising.

The Risks

"Alcohol has been linked to a small increased risk of cancer in general. A 2015 study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that compared with nondrinkers, moderate drinkers had a 2 to 6 percent higher risk. But the association between moderate alcohol intake and the risk of breast cancer was stronger. Women who drank the amount of alcohol in one-​third to one glass of wine per day had a 13 percent increased risk of cancer, mostly driven by breast cancer."

"Once drinking goes beyond the small amounts defined as moderate, the risks quickly start to outweigh any potential cardiovascular benefits. Higher levels of alcohol intake are linked to increases in heart disease, high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke, as well as the development of various types of cancer."

Is There Something Special About Red Wine?

"The short answer is, we don’t know for sure. “In all of the population studies on the effects of moderate drinking, we’ve seen no clear difference between types of alcohol,” Mukamal says. But wine drinking is linked to other healthy behavior—such as maintaining a better diet and getting regular exercise. Wine is also typically consumed in a healthier manner—with a meal—unlike beer or liquor."

It couldn't hurt to feature red wine in ads. The healthy association could be just the thing to get more Wine Drinkers in the door. According to AudienceSCAN research, 40.6% of Wine Drinkers took action based on the ads/​coupons they received in their mailboxes in the past month.

"As for the much-​touted resveratrol (an antioxidant) in red wine, the evidence is mixed at best. Most of the studies have been done in animals, and the ones that show any benefit usually involve extremely high doses of resveratrol. “You would need to drink liters of wine a day to get those levels,” Mukamal says."

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.