At this point, we've basically memorized the benefits of drinking red wine: It can lower your risk of heart attack, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. Red wine: A drink to your heart. Saleem T, Basha S. Journal of Cardiovascular Disease Research. 2010 Oct-Dec; 1(4): 171–176.
Red wine consumption improves insulin resistance but not endothelial function in type 2 diabetic patients. Napoli R, Cozzolino D, Guardasole V. Metabolism: clinical and experimental, 2005, May.;54(3):0026-0495.
Chronic treatment with red wine polyphenol compounds mediates neuroprotection in a rat model of ischemic cerebral stroke. Ritz MF, Ratajczak P, Curin Y. The Journal of nutrition, 2008, Mar.;138(3):1541-6100. Noticeably absent from that list: Drinking alcohol has also been connected to a half dozen types of cancer. We’re not bringing this up to scare you into putting down your glass of vino (the risk is slim) but rather as an example of how twisted nutrition research can be.
The major problem—as this story from Vox points out—is that many of these headline-grabbing studies are funded by the food industry, specifically the companies who make the food being studied. Marion Nestle, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition at NYU, found that 90 percent of the industry-funded studies published in the last year show benefits for the food being researched. For example, a recent study that concluded eating walnuts reduced adults' risk for diabetes was funded by the California Walnut Commission. Walnut ingestion in adults at risk for diabetes: effects on body composition, diet quality, and cardiac risk measures. Njike VY, Ayettey R, Petraro P. BMJ open diabetes research & care, 2015, Oct.;3(1):2052-4897. Another, funded by Welch's, found drinking Concord grape juice led to cognitive benefits. Concord grape juice, cognitive function, and driving performance: a 12-wk, placebo-controlled, randomized crossover trial in mothers of preteen children. Lamport DJ, Lawton CL, Merat N. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 2016, Feb.;103(3):1938-3207.
To learn why this conflict of interest continues to exist, check out the full story on Vox by clicking below.