15 July 2005

The benefits of impartial health advice

Doctors clash on benefits of wine

Wine is the thinking person's health drink according to an Aussie GP who recommends four glasses a day (two for women) to stay in tip-top shape.

Not surprisingly, Philip Norrie's advice is not being toasted in many medical quarters. Palmerston North GP Ben Goddard said there are stark issues with the advice given by Dr Norrie to people suffering from existing conditions such as liver disease and its high sugar content is also not so palatable for people with diabetes.

Dr Norrie, of Sydney, says drinking white or red wine - it doesn't matter - daily is the single most important preventive health measure one can do.

He lists the benefits: "It reduces heart attack, stroke, diabetes and vascular disease by 50 percent; lowers bad cholesterol and raises high-density lipoprotein, or good cholesterol, and it slows the aging process because it's the most potent antioxidant found in nature.

It should probably be mentioned now that Dr Norrie owns Pendarves Estate, a boutique vineyard in the lower Hunter Valley, north of Sydney.

But the family GP is serious enough about the health benefits of wine and is doing a PhD on wine as a medicine.

Dr Norrie says he is obviously not talking about a Saturday night swill. The four glasses for men and two for women is a maximum, not a minimum.

But Dr Goddard said the amount of wine people can drink happily varies between individuals.

"Four is pushing it a bit. Do you drink that in one quick go or are we talking about four glasses over a long evening?

"And is this being drunk with a couple of beers or several gin and tonics?"

Manawatu Evening Standard, 15 July

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