Is red wine better than exercise?
If the latest media headlines are to be believed, yes!
Cancel your gym membership, throw out your whey protein, and declare Wine O’ Clock!
According to the findings of a recent study published in the Journal of Physiology, new research suggests that having a glass of red wine is better than doing an hour of exercise.
All that time wasted, when you could have been sat at home on the couch.
Finally, those family members who told you not to join a gym and become one of those “fitness fanatics” have some ammunition to throw at you, proclaiming they were right all along.
So today I’ll be taking a good look through the findings of this interesting study, to determine what exactly caused the media to run wild with such crazy headlines (link link link link link) in the first place.
But let’s start by answering the one question I know you’re all dying to hear:
Is red wine better than exercise?
Of course it’s f**king not!
And while I’m at it, let me clear these up too:
- There’s no such thing as six minute abs.
- All that protein you eat is not “bad for you.”
- Sandra from the chip shop who has started selling Juice Plus is not suddenly a nutritionist.
- And you really needn’t worry about getting “too big”, bro.
Ready to begin?
Is Red Wine Better Than Exercise?
The most alarming thing about this revelation is how it was misinterpreted.
Sometimes studies are set up to create panic, and to hit headlines in order to garner attention for the publishers.
But this was not like that.
In fact, it was a very well constructed trial by researchers at the University of Alberta designed to test the effects resveratrol has on exercise performance. (1)
The media themselves are responsible for the crazy headlines.
During the trial, researchers designated 4 groups of rats (yes, it was performed on rats!) to one of the following protocols:
- No exercise
- No exercise with resveratrol
- Exercise with resveratrol
As you can see from my handy graph above, the group of rats who exercised achieved far superior results to the groups who did not exercise. Period.
That happened regardless whether they used resveratrol or not.
So that’s the first red flag in the press’ handling of this study. Telling people to forego the gym and put their feet up with a glass of red wine does not correspond with the findings of this study at all.
But they did make one interesting discovery…
The group of rats who exercised while using resveratrol performed slightly better than those who exercised without it.
This means that resveratrol could possess some unique performance enhancing abilities.
More studies are needed on the possible exercise benefits of resveratrol before we can conclude if it’s truly something which can boost performance, and this trial has got the ball rolling. That’s a good thing.
However, the amount of resveratrol required to boost performance (another thing left out of the news) was the equivalent to 146mg per lb of body weight in the study rats. This equates to 24mg of per lb of body weight in humans, and red wine generally contains somewhere between 4-7mg resveratrol per glass.
Therefore, in order to experience these slight performance enhancing benefits, you’d need to drink a whopping 1300 glasses of red wine!
Instead of boosting your performance, you’d hit the gym feeling more like Rab C. Nesbitt!
Don’t Believe Everything You Read
The press lap up these so-called discoveries.
The whole “red wine is better than exercise” thing is just the latest in a long line of fitness BS to hit the front pages, and only serves to confuse the nation even more about getting fit and healthy.
(A nation that was already very confused…)
Remember the 2014 study which claimed that a high protein diet will kill you? (2)
Or the uproar caused back in 2013 when a study suggested that fish oil causes prostate cancer? (3)
This one will end up in the same category of the fitness world (i.e. fiction) as those studies, swirling around the the limelight for a couple of months before being forgotten about.
This sucks because we live in an age where people are consuming more junk food than ever, and exercising less than ever before. (4)
According to the latest statistics seen above: Go Hawaii! Go Colorado! Go Massachusetts!
Everyone else? Not so much.
As much as we try to strive forward in educating people about living healthier lifestyles, and the benefits of looking good, we set ourselves back by succumbing to bulls**t clickbait like this.
People are willing waste to so much precious time searching in vain for miracle fat burning pills, one weird trick, and cling film body wraps that make you look like you went through the evil super computer from Superman III.
For there are only two constants when it comes to building your best body:
- Hard work
So put down that glass of red wine and get your butt to the gym.
If you enjoyed my article “Is Red Wine Better Than Exercise?”, leave a like on it below and jump on my free email list for more training tips.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System – United States, 2017.