Review of the red wine diet 

This is no ordinary book about a trendy diet.

The author of this book, Russell Corder, is Professor of Experimental Therapeutics at the William Harvey Research Institute in London.

Much has been written about the health benefits of red wine, and there are plenty of claims about the how and why.

Roger Corder has researched the connections between red wine and health. He identifies the polyphenols in wine that are active in preventing vascular and heart disease.

They are known as 'straight chain oligomeric procyanidins'. Maybe you don't have to remember that name, but just remember to keep drinking red wine.

For many years resveratrol has been credited being the substance responsible for the beneficial effects of red wine. But the amount of resveratrol in wine is generally to low to have a significant effect.

The evidence for resveratrol as the active ingredient in red wine however doesn't quite stand up. Other substances are now seen as more important. He found that red wine varieties vary in the amount of good polyphenols they have.

Malbec and especially Tannat are two varieties that are rich in these health giving substances. These varieties are popular in SW France, an area known for the longevity of the people who drink plenty of wine while eating lots of saturated animal fats and foie gras as well.

Chapters in the The Red Wine Diet include

  •   Wine and health
  •   What is it about red wine
  •   The magic of procyanadins
  •   Traditional remedies, modern medicines
  •   Diet myths: are you risking your health
  •   Eat well, have fun and improve your health

Why I recommend this book

Although it deals with quite a few scientific issues it is quite readable. The evidence is presented methodically and a practical guide to improving your health is set out.

There are a few recipes and guidelines for healthy living, but there are now hyper-inflated claims that we might find in other diet books.

The French Paradox solved?

For years the lower incidence of heart disease in France has been a puzzle. The French diet typically includes substantial levels of saturated fat, which would be expected to cause cardio-vascular problems.

However differences in longevity within France are even more striking.

Corder examines regional data comparing health and longevity indices in French regions.

He identifies the Department of Gers in South West France as the area where people where living longest despite a diet which would otherwise indicate high levels of mortality due to heart disease.

Gers has by far the greatest percentage of nonagenarians in all of France.

It just so happens that the wine produced and consumed in this region has very high levels of procyanadins.

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