It’s time to quit the gym.
Is red wine better than exercise?
If the media is to be believed, then yes it is!
Today I’ll be looking at the findings of a study that was recently the subject of headlines which raged through the press like wildfire.
All those friends who call you “obsessed” for training suddenly had some ammunition to use as they sat on the couch and called you a weirdo for looking after your body.
So let me begin looking at this info by addressing the obvious question:
Is having a glass of red wine better than exercise?
Of course it’s fucking not.
And while we’re at it:
- you cannot get six minute abs
- all that protein you eat is not bad for you
- you don’t need to worry about “getting too big”
- miracle juice drinks are not the missing link to fat loss
Don’t Believe Everything You Read
Of course, the press lapped up these “discoveries”.
This is merely the latest in a long line of nonsensical reports that fly in the face of common sense and create headlines out of thin air.
Remember the 2014 study which claimed high protein diets will kill you? Or the 2013 uproar caused by “research” suggesting fish oil causes prostate cancer? (1, 2)
After flying around the media and causing every fitness enthusiast the world over to promptly shit themselves, they were swiftly debunked and never mentioned again.
And now, due to the effects of resveratrol levels found in wine, you are being told to forego your workout and replace it with a good old glass of red.
Apparently, it’ll have the exact same effect on your health. (3)
Is Red Wine Better Than Exercise?
Sometimes studies are set up to create panic.
Just like the ones mentioned above, they’ll deliberately try to make silly, headline-grabbing statements to garner attention.
This study was not one of them.
In fact, it was a very well designed and expertly conducted trial.
The media were solely to blame for the crazy headlines which followed.
Because when we look at the actual data which was recorded, it does not correspond to those reports in the slightest!
During these trials, researchers focused on 4 groups of rats.
They were monitored under the following conditions:
- No exercise
- No exercise and a dose of resveratrol
- Exercise and a dose of resveratrol
The results show that those who exercised obtained far superior results than those who did not exercise – regardless of whether they had resveratrol or not.
This was the first red flag with the media’s coverage of the study.
The press was telling you to declare “Wine O’Clock” and then check to see if you had abs yet, despite the fact that the study confirmed those who did not exercise achieved jack shit.
Instead, newspapers were telling you that one glass of red wine is as good as an hour in the gym.
The results did make one interesting finding, however – the group of rats who exercised and took resveratrol performed slightly better than the group who exercised without it.
For now, this is merely useful information which cannot be applied, because the amounts of resveratrol used in this study would see you hitting the gym like Rab C Nesbitt.
This has already sparked a follow up study to determine how effective resveratrol could be as an exercise supplement.
However, this is also where the second red flag goes up and ends the nonsense completely.
The dosages of resveratrol which were used to get the desired effects in this trial were massive.
A dose of 146mg per lb of body weight in rats equates to 24mg per kg of body weight in humans.
Red wine generally contains only 4-7mg of resveratrol in every litre.
Therefore you’d need to drink 1300 glasses of red wine per day to get the same dose of resveratrol the rats in this study got.
But that doesn’t sound as good as “drink a glass of wine and get ripped”.
Why This Sucks
I’ve seen this time and time again.
We live in an era where people are eating more junk food than ever, while exercising less and less.
And as much as we try to push the idea of living a healthy lifestyle, we keep setting ourselves back years in progress by succumbing to bullshit clickbait like this.
People waste so much time looking for miracle fat loss pills, super-awesome juice detox bullshit, and body wraps that make you look like you’ve just gone through that machine from Superman 4, despite the fact that all of them are complete nonsense.
There are only two rules to getting in shape:
Hard work on a consistent basis.
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1. Levine, M. E., et al. “Low Protein Intake Is Associated with a Major Reduction in IGF-1, Cancer, and Overall Mortality in the 65 and Younger but Not Older Population.” Cell Metabolism 19 (3): 407-417, 2014.
2. Brasky, T. M., et al. “Plasma Phospholipid Fatty Acids and Prostate Cancer Risk in the Select Trial.” Journal of the National Cancer Institute. In press, 2013.
3. Dolinsky, V. W., et al. “Improvements in skeletal muscle strength and cardiac function induced by resveratrol during exercise training contribute to enhanced exercise performance in rats” J Physiol. 2012 Jun 1; 590(Pt 11): 2783–2799.