From The Conversation: Maybe moderate drinking isn’t so good for you after all.
We generally assume moderate drinking (two standard drinks per day) is good for our health.
This idea comes from studies over the past three decades showing moderate drinkers are healthier and less likely to die prematurely than those who drink more, less, or don’t drink at all.
I would be glad if this were true.
But our latest research challenges this view. We found while moderate drinkers are healthier than relatively heavy drinkers or non-drinkers, they are also wealthier. When we control for the influence of wealth, then alcohol’s apparent health benefit is much reduced in women aged 50 years or older, and disappears completely in men of similar age. [continue]
From The Economist: Of sommeliers and stomachs.
Fine food sings on the palate, but pairing it with the right wine creates a chorus. Among those in the know, the plum, chocolate and spice flavours of Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, Pinot Noirs and Sangioveses best accentuate the rich flavours of red meats. Now, however, a group of researchers led by Joseph Kanner of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has discovered that pairing red wines like these with red meat appears to be more than just a matter of taste. If the two mix in the stomach, compounds in the wine thwart the formation of harmful chemicals that are released when meat is digested. [continue]
From the New York Times: Talk Dirt to Me.
It’s hard to have a conversation about wine these days without hearing the French word terroir. Derived from a Latin root meaning "earth," terroir describes the relationship between a wine and the specific place that it comes from. For example, many will say the characteristic minerality of wines from Chablis comes from the limestone beds beneath the vineyards (although, when pressed, they generally admit that they’ve never actually tasted limestone). The idea that one can taste the earth in a wine is appealing, a welcome link to nature and place in a delocalized world; it has also become a rallying cry in an increasingly sharp debate over the direction of modern winemaking. The trouble is, it’s not true. [continue]
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This NYT article is by Harold McGee and Daniel Patterson; that’ll make a bunch of foodies sit up and take notice. Harold McGee wrote On Food and Cooking, which is sure to fascinate anybody who’s interested in the intersection of food and science.