May 132014

One of the items in my Facebook feed this morning was a post from a friend saying she was giving up chocolate because she’d just learned that resveratrol was no good for her.  Intrigued, I did a little googling.  Sure enough, I immediately found lots of reporting on this topic.

Resveratrol May Not Be The Elixir In Red Wine And Chocolate (NPR)
Resveratrol in the diet is no help at all (LA Times)
Resveratrol in Red Wine Not Such a Health-Booster? (WebMD)

Each source duly reported that a new study revealed no correlation between resveratrol and increased longevity or reduced incidences of heart disease or cancer.

Next, I went to the JAMA site and looked at the actual study. The finding there was a little different than what I’d read elsewhere.  The study authors’ conclusion was that

In older community-dwelling adults, total urinary resveratrol metabolite concentration was not associated with inflammatory markers, cardiovascular disease, or cancer or predictive of all-cause mortality. Resveratrol levels achieved with a Western diet did not have a substantial influence on health status and mortality risk of the population in this study.

What jumps out at me is the phrase “achieved with a Western diet.”  A Western Diet is typically defined as one that is high in red meat (and not of the grass-fed variety), sugars, refined grains/cereals, and fried and processed foods.  According to HealthDay News:

People who eat this kind of diet — which includes fried and sweet foods, processed and red meat, refined grains and high-fat dairy products — are at increased risk for premature death.

Notably, none of the articles that reported on the resveratrol study bothered to discuss how a Western Diet may have affected the study outcome, or indeed, that eating a typical Western Diet is so detrimental to good health that there is no compound that can miraculously un-do the damage it causes.

It is perhaps true that there is no benefit to resveratrol.  But it is far truer that consuming a Western Diet is a fast-track to heart disease, metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and more.