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A Tough Decision?

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“Margaret,” Laurie called out as she rounded the end of the last aisle in the grocery store.

“Hi, Laurie,” Margaret responded as she placed a bottle of Bordeaux wine in her shopping cart.

“I didn’t know you liked wine.” Laurie, basket on her arm, tried to speak without accusation as she approached Margaret’s shopping cart. “I thought you were an abstainer.”

“Oh, I was – until I saw the most recent study about the good effects of red wine,” Margaret said. “You know, lowering cholesterol, decreasing clots, better heart health.” Margaret seemed quite confident.

Laurie wrinkled her brow, trying to recall what she had read. “Good effects? I did read something about that in a magazine – or on-line somewhere, but I don’t remember the details.”

“Yeah. It’s all about the resveratrol in wine. You know about that?”

“Um, I remember resveratrol,” Margaret nodded. “A magical element in red grapes.”

“Yes. It lowers cholesterol. It decreases the risk of diabetes, another major cause of heart disease. And it causes those who take it to burn calories more efficiently so it decreases weight.” Margaret nodded her head with satisfaction. “It’s in wine in abundance so I’m going to get some protection against heart disease and enjoy myself a little in the bargain.”

Laurie still stood with wrinkled brow. “But how much resveratrol do you have to take to get these wonderful effects?”

“Oh, let’s see.” Now it was Margaret’s turn to scratch her head in thought. “I think it was 150 milligrams. Yes, that’s what the people in the study were taking – 150 milligrams a day.”

“Now I remember,” Laurie said, nodding in agreement. “Yes, 150 milligrams a day — about the amount you would get if you drank 2.5 gallons of wine a day.”

“What?”

“That’s a lot of wine – every day, isn’t it?” Now Laurie remembered what she’d read. “Three to six drinks a week increases the risk of breast cancer 15% and heavier drinking increases that risk to 50%. The alcohol in the wine raises estrogen levels. Not to mention all those calories – in 2.5 gallons of wine. Plus the heart and liver poisoning. Yeah, risky business.”

“But how will I get my resveratrol?” Margaret shook her head in disbelief as she put the wine bottle back on the shelf.

“There’s as much resveratrol in red grape juice, as there is in wine,” Laurie said. “And there are always the red grapes themselves – along with their fiber. Also good for heart health.”

“It’s never as simple as it seems, is it?” Margaret said as she walked toward the checkout counter.

“No, it never is,” Laurie agreed.

 

Author

Max Wayne Hammonds was born Aug 3, 1943, in northeastern Indiana, in the county hospital in Wabash. He attended high school and college in his home town of North Manchester and attended Indiana University Medical School in Indianapolis. Following an internship in South Bend, IN and a year of flight medicine in the Air Force, he took a residency in anesthesiology at Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX.