Wine vs. Lifestyle

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May 08, 2010

Why is it that wine drinkers tend to be healthier than beer drinkers? It's been clear for some time that drinking wine is associated with lower mortality than drinking beer or hard spirits. But there's been debate about whether vino's health benefits are due to intrinsic properties or to the lifestyle of wine drinkers.

In this Danish study, reported in the British Medical Journal, researchers analyzed 3.5 million transactions that took place at 98 outlets of two large supermarket chains. Based on these transactions, customers were classified as "wine only," "beer only," "mixed," or "non- alcohol" buyers.

What they found was that people who bought wine also bought healthier foods than people who bought beer. Wine drinkers purchased more olives, fruits, vegetables, poultry, veal, beef, milk, low-fat cheese, and cooking oil, while beer drinkers bought more prepared foods, cold cuts, sausages, pork, lamb, chips, sugar, butter, margarine, and soft drinks.

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