From the Anals of Idiocy…
It is being reported that having a glass of red wine is just as good as going to the gym. For an entire hour. If you haven’t heard it on CNN, FOX, MSNDC or read it online, click here or here. In that second link, the title is “Science Proves a Drinking Wine is Better than Going to the Gym” [emphasis added by me]. In the first, the headline is simply that a glass of red wine is “the equivalent” to an hour at the gym.
Now, if you heard or read a report like that and thought, “Awesome! I have to stop by the liquor store on the way home!” God help you. We can place your mug shot in the dictionary next to the word gullible. If, on the other hand, you thought, “What? That sounds a little fishy. I’ll check it out.” Good for you.
Now, here’s an abject lesson in how news works and why.
Here’s a quote pulled from the second link:
Before you start rejoicing and run out of the house to replenish your wine supply, this doesn’t mean that you can strawpedo a bottle of wine each night. This only works with one glass a day – three glasses don’t count as a three hour gym session – so the key is moderation.
Got that? The key is moderation. Good, because we wouldn’t want people driving home $#!+ faced from the local watering hole because they had to get their exercise in, right?
Now let’s go to the Huffington Post, a (somewhat) respected news outlet that caters to astoundingly gullible leftists:
Though, let’s be straight here – this is all in moderation, it only applies to red wine and the university’s study was carried out on rats, not humans.
Okay, so moderation is the key. This is from the write-up on the study. The headline is “Resveratrol may be natural exercise performance enhancer”:
Principal investigator Jason Dyck and his team found out in lab experiments that high doses of the natural compound resveratrol improved physical performance, heart function and muscle strength in lab models. [Emphasis mine]
Now, if you’re a knee-jerker, you’re thinking wine must have “high doses” of resveratrol. Oh, no. Don’t be silly. Not in the amounts you’d need to make a difference in one stupid glass of wine. This is from the next paragraph:
We immediately saw the potential for this and thought that we identified ‘improved exercise performance in a pill.
Get it? A pill. They’re talking about one of those saw palmetto pills where they take the equivalent of 45 trees and cram that into a tiny pill.
Now, because I’m a thorough fellow, let’s not stop there. Let’s go the University of Alberta’s website to see what Dr. Jason Dyck thinks about the notion that a glass of wine is the equivalent of, or better than an hour at the gym, as reported…
Red wine is no excuse not to hit the gym, period. The study, which was published in the Journal of Physiology and later appeared in Science Daily in 2012, demonstrated that a natural compound, resveratrol, which is found in some fruits, nuts (and yes, in red wine), enhances exercise training and performance. The study does not advocate avoiding exercise; instead, Dyck says, “I think resveratrol could help patient populations who want to exercise but who are physically incapable. Resveratrol could mimic exercise for them or improve the benefits of the modest amount of exercise that they can do.”
Principal investigator Jason Dyck and his team found in lab experiments that high doses of the natural compound resveratrol improved physical performance, heart function and muscle strength in lab models [rats – they did the study on rats].
The point, ladies and gentlemen, is that many people walked away from the reports that a glass of wine is as good as, or even better that an hour at the gym. They’re walking around out there and they just know that a glass of wine is just as good as an hour at the gym because they heard it (or read it) in the news, and they’re completely and entirely wrong. If this were the case, my uncle Guido* wouldn’t have weighed 250 pounds…
Let’s go one step further even, just for fun. I wonder just how much resveratrol one needs to have a decent impact on one’s life – and better yet, how much is in a glass of wine! Ooh, this should be fun. It’s also going to get bumpy. Now, one thing I should state here, in the event you missed it: I think you’d have to be one hell of a fool to honestly believe that a glass of red wine gives one the same benefit as going to the gym for an hour, so I didn’t bother trying to discredit what I found because the original notion itself is so silly to begin with. That said, according to one report I found a liter of wine contains 12.6 mg of resveratrol. Let’s figure a large glass has 1/4 of that: 3.15-ish mg. You have one school that says the daily dose in a human would have to top 500 mg (again, remember my saw palmetto pill reference at the beginning of the post?). I’ll give you a second to do the math if you haven’t already said, “oh, poop”… There’s another camp that says that’s too high though, they suggest as much as ten times too high. They suggest 1.74 mg per kg per day should be sufficient. Let’s see, for me, I’m 77 kg… Folks, that’s 134 mg or a little more than 38 glasses of wine a day – you’d end up a full-blown drunk inside six months, drinking like that… I doubt genetics wouldn’t even matter after that level of drunkenness. Oh, and one final little tidbit to gnaw on… Resveratrol is found in grape seeds and skin. This is why red wine works and white doesn’t (the skins play a bigger part in the manufacture of reds)… I don’t need to write another word about this, do I? Dude, just eat the grapes… You’ll actually be eating the skins, where all of the good stuff is.
Let’s stick with wine for a few more seconds though, just to prove how off the reporting on this really is. Basically, you’re looking at 11 bottles of red wine a day, if we go with the low side figure**, to get your 1 hour workout. Okay, 125 calories in five ounces, times 5 because a bottle is 25.4 ounces, times 11 bottles (and one mean hangover): That’s 6,875 calories, give or take. To get your one hour in the gym’s worth of resveratrol, you would have to lift weights 27-1/2 hours a day to burn all of the calories that you consumed drinking that wine. But remember, it’s all about moderation. For those who initially believed the reports, that a glass of wine is worth an hour in the gym, there are only 24 hours in a day.
Now, if you’re a thinking person, you know where this goes next. This is just a stupid filler piece on a glass of red wine! Sadly, this shoddy reporting is quite widespread, worldwide and about much larger issues than a ridiculous glass of red wine.
* I don’t actually have an Uncle Guido, I changed his name for this post, but I do have a veritable plethora of Italian Uncles and they all drink red wine and they are all overweight.
** I went with the low-end figure because if we went with the high-end, the amounts used in the actual study, you’re looking at more than 100 bottles of wine a day, and that’s stupid on a whole new level.
Oh, by the way, yes. I do know it should be annals of idiocy. That wasn’t a mistake.
UPDATE: My goodness, I forgot the why! If you’re wondering why something so wrong can be disseminated as fact, sadly I don’t have a good answer for you. Truly, how could something so wrong be written and uttered on TV? Ignorance is bliss. I would love to meet the idiot who passed the tidbit to the info-babe who read it on the air. It’s truly astounding, at least to me, that someone in a real news organization could read something so off the wall and not come to the natural conclusion, that the notion a person could drink some wine and have that be as good as an hour in the gym, is more than a little fishy… It’s simply disturbing.