Thursday, November 2, 2006

The BBC has an interesting headline, Wine 'allows guilt free gluttony'. This is reporting on a very interesting story prepublished in nature. I don't understand the use of the quotation marks here. None of the sources quoted in the story are quoted as saying that, so who said "allows guilt free gluttony"?

Beyond the nit-picking of a BBC headline, the story is very interesting. As many people know, restricting calorific intake in fruit flies and mice to one third of normal, prolongs survival. This is fine in laboratory conditions, where infectious disease is much less common, but some people have been quick to apply these findings to humans to recommend this diet to extend human lifespan.

Now, building on previous research, a natural product has been identified which has a similar effect in mice, through a similar mechanism. In mice fed a high calorie diet, resveratrol returns the survival rate to mice fed a normal calorie diet. As usual, In The Pipeline has the interesting details.

Now, according to the wikipedia article, red wine contains this compound, thus taking us full circle. So, needing little encouragement to slosh some red wine down my gullet, how much do I need to drink to stay slim? Well, the mice in the article were fed 22 mg/kg/day. Which is a fair amount. I guess I weigh about 80 kg, so that's 1760 mg I would need to consume per day. Non-mescadine red wine apparantly contains up to 5.8 mg/l, so based on that, I would need to consume 303 litres of red wine to feel the benefit. I suspect, however, that the ethanol may undo the benefit I may gain from my resveratrol. No matter! Muscadine type red wine, apparantly contains 40 mg/l, so I need only consume 44 litres of the stuff a day, far better!

Sadly, there is still no quick fix here, and red wine does not allow guilt-free gluttony.

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