This Week's Nutrition News Feed

Red Wine

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Wine glasses with carafe and champagne at dinner cocktail party

In this week's news: There may be one fewer reason to drink red wine; meat companies ditch the drugs; and two studies take a glass-half-empty attitude toward milk drinking.

Time to Switch to White?

If you're drinking red wine for the, um, health benefits, you may have to find a new excuse. A new study, published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, has called into question the contention that resveratrol, a substance found in the skin of red grapes and also available as a supplement, enhances the benefits of physical activity. Researchers involved with the small study concluded that, on the contrary, resveratrol may actually impede exercise’s beneficial effects. The study found that those taking a placebo showed more benefits from physical activity than those taking a resveratrol supplement. The study's lead researcher, Brendon Gurd, of Queen’s University, in Canada, said, "The data … clearly demonstrates that RSV supplementation doesn't augment training, but may impair the effect it has on the body." Bummer.

Antibiotics on the Way Out at the Meat Market

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration urged meat companies to phase out the use of antibiotics to promote growth in livestock, due to concerns about antibiotic-resistant bacteria. But, responding to consumer demand, the companies may be ending the practice more abruptly than expected. Companies like the poultry company Perdue Farms Inc. are asking their farmers to raise their animals without the use of antibiotics. "We are seeing companies come to the table because of public pressure in a way they haven’t before," Susan Vaughn Grooters, of the health, animal-welfare and environmental coalition Keep Antibiotics Working, told the Wall Street Journal, adding that the FDA is "being outpaced … by the industry." As one Kentucky farmer who now raises antibiotic-free chickens for Perdue puts it, "Everyone wants a healthier lifestyle. That is basically what it boils down to."

Got Milk? Get … Confused

Milk and dairy products are known to be a good source of calcium, as well as protein and vitamins D and A, but two new studies about their health benefits are causing a froth. One large study, published in the BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal), found a link between high milk intake and higher mortality in both women and men as well as higher fracture rates in women, though researchers recommend "a cautious interpretation of the results." Another study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, found that people who are lactose-intolerant, and therefore consume less milk and dairy products, had a lower risk for developing lung, breast and ovarian cancers. "The decreased risks were not found in their family members," the researchers note, "suggesting that the protective effects against these cancers may be related to their specific dietary pattern." (Gulp.) However, the researchers involved in that study also urge us to "interpret these results with caution." Huh … it’s hard to know what to drink … er, think.

Amy Reiter also contributes to FN Dish.

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