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Red Wine, Chocolate For Health Benefits? New Study Says No

A new study says the antioxidant found in red wine and dark chocolate doesn't provide the health benefits doctors thought it did.
Posted at 10:08 AM, May 13, 2014

Now, we're pretty sure you've heard this one before:

"Red wine, along with other alcohol, can provide health benefits by increasing your HDL, or good cholesterol, and lowering your LDL, or bad cholesterol." (Via YouTube / Marshfield Clinic)

Unfortunately for merlot fans, that long-accepted theory might not be true after all. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Agne27)

​"Researchers at Johns Hopkins University failing to find any evidence that resveratrol​, the ingredient that's found in the skin of grapes, of red grapes, and chocolate is linked to long life." (Via Fox News)

Yes, you — sadly — heard right. A new study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine Monday says the antioxidant in red wine and dark chocolate is not associated with longevity or a decrease in heart disease or cancer risks.

Doctors have been debating the potential health benefits of red wine and chocolate ever since researchers identified the "French paradox," or the observation that the French generally have low levels of heart disease despite maintaining diets high in cholesterol and saturated fat. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Andre Karwath / Davide Restivo)

But this new study's author told National Journal his team found that theory just doesn't add up. "I think there are other factors involved. Other antioxidants other than resveratrol could contribute … or smaller portions and more exercise. The 'French Paradox' is still kind of a hypothesis. It doesn't seem to make sense."

To come to this conclusion, researchers studied the effects of resveratrol on 783 men and women in two small towns in Italy aged 65 and older over the course of nine years. (Via Bloomberg)

The team analyzed urine samples and medical evaluations taken from each participant during that time and found, regardless of their resveratrol levels, 34 percent of the group died, 27 percent developed heart disease and 5 percent developed cancer. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Lourdes Cardenal)

Now, previous studies on resveratrol have shown high doses of the antioxidant significantly delay the effects of aging in mice.

But as CNN points out, you'd need to drink hundreds of glasses of red wine a day for it to have a substantial effect. Talk about a healthy buzz.

The study's authors say more research into these results is needed. But in the meantime, they are encouraging people who take resveratrol supplements to stop using them.