How Heart Disease Created America’s Wine Industry

By Brian Lemay 100 comments

This is an inviting glass of wine. Inside is about 125 calories, about 15% alcohol by volume, and some antioxidants. Of course, we didn’t always think about it this scientifically. Humans have been drinking
wine since the Dark Ages. The ancient Greeks even
worshipped a god of wine. It wasn’t until the 20th century that we started
asking ourselves, is red wine good for us? And that question is now
more relevant than ever. After all, Americans
have never consumed so much wine in their lives, but recent studies have
shown that no amount of alcohol is good for you,
and it seems pretty absurd that after all of this time, something so ingrained
into culture could suddenly be bad for you. What if 10,000 years of
human history has been wrong? Jack: Rollin’? Dr. Nicole Harkin: If someone
comes in and they’ve never consumed alcohol before, I certainly wouldn’t
recommend starting to drink. Jack: So how often do patients
ask you about red wine? Harkin: It’s definitely
a common question I get. So I think the type of patients that tend to come to me do
ask about alcohol consumption. It’s up there with,
you know, stress. We all, you know,
living in New York… Jack: I began to wonder,
where exactly did this idea, that red wine is
good for you come from? To answer that,
we need to go to France. The year is 1976. It’s May 24, and France’s
finest judges of wine gather for a blind
tasting to decide which wines are
the best in the world. That’s George Taber, the only journalist
at the event now known as the Judgment of Paris, something that would change
the world of wine forever. George reported the news,
the French were furious, and Americans quietly
rejoiced about something that they didn’t even really
know they were good at. Up until this point,
wine wasn’t a widely consumed beverage
in the States. Taber: Well, it was starting
to become fairly popular, but not that much,
it was still kind of the drink of the snobs… Jack: Wine consumption
and production would increase
greatly during this time, setting the stage
for what was to come. Jack: As wine drinking
grew in America, so did something
else: waistlines. Tape: 600 quality wieners pass through the
famous hot dog highway. Jack: An increase
in processed foods boosted the
amount of sugar and salt Americans consumed
on a daily basis, sparking a nationwide
obsession with weight and, more importantly, health. It was the perfect stage
for what would happen next. Harkin: For all countries,
if you plot out kind of saturated fat and animal
cholesterol consumption against cardiovascular disease, you sort of see a
linear-based relationship whereby the more
animal products you eat, the higher the rate of death. The French seemingly,
for whatever reason, despite their large quantities
of saturated fat intake, had a lower risk of
cardiovascular death. Jack: This went against
conventional science at the time, but the
French, despite their love of fatty meats,
cheeses, and butter, had apparently
found a loophole. In 1989, this unusual trend
was coined the French Paradox. Two years later, “60 Minutes”
premiered a landmark broadcast explaining the French Paradox and suggested that France’s
regular consumption of red wine was what was
protecting their hearts. Morley Safer: So the
answer to the riddle, the explanation
of the paradox, may lie in this inviting glass. Jack: At the time, “60 Minutes” was the highest-rated
show on television, and middle-aged baby
boomers now had this planted into their brains: You
can eat all the meat and cheese and
butter you want, all you have to
do is drink more wine. Sales in the ’90s skyrocketed. Vineyards expanded, and
everyone was drinking the hot new health beverage. The good reputation of
wine is often attributed to its antioxidants
like resveratrol, but there’s not
enough resveratrol in wine to have beneficial effects. Right now, it’s just
a good marketing term. It turns out it’s not just red wine that has some
sort of health benefit. It’s any alcoholic beverage. Harkin: When it came to alcohol, it’s been consistently
demonstrated all kinds of
different populations, socioeconomic
profiles, everything, that this moderate
amount of intake for whatever
reason seems to be linked with a lower risk of
cardiovascular disease, even lower than those
who consumed no alcohol. Jack: Studies
over the years have shown that moderate consumption
of alcohol in general is linked with a lower
risk of heart disease, and as for the French Paradox… Harkin: They also found
that French physicians were systematically
underreporting cardiovascular disease for whatever reason. Jack: In a report
published in 1999, not only were coronary deaths
massively underreported in France, when observing
alcohol-related deaths, French men were
more likely to die from gastrointestinal
cancers, more likely to commit suicide,
suffer violent deaths, or die in accidents than men
in other European countries. In other words, the
French were dying too much from other things to even
develop heart disease. The key point that Dr.
Harkin came back to was that when it comes to
health, it’s important to be aware
that one thing isn’t going to make us healthy. Rather,
it’s a combination of various things that we’ve all
heard over and over again. Harkin: So while things like
eating your dark chocolate and your red wine and all
that sound fun and cool and sexy, unfortunately, it’s
a lot more boring than that, and it really just
is eating your fruits, your vegetables,
whole grains, beans, exercising, all this other
stuff while very interesting, and may at some
point have a good role, are probably more
on the periphery and are gonna
have sort of mild impacts. Jack: So red wine’s not
like a saving grace? Harkin: Yeah, it’s not gonna,
like I said, it’s just not gonna…it’s not gonna protect
you from the cheeseburger you had the night before. Jack: That’s too bad. Harkin: I know.


lee zeo

Mar 3, 2019, 5:39 pm Reply

Because wine is Jesus blood.

Gee DoubleU

Mar 3, 2019, 5:51 pm Reply

"Won't save you from the cheeseburger you had last night". Who is this whiny narrow minded twit?

Pierre O. Park

Mar 3, 2019, 6:12 pm Reply

Crying over a French feast right now and cursing the ‘French Paradox Lie’…


Mar 3, 2019, 6:23 pm Reply

Cersie Lannister has joined the chat


Mar 3, 2019, 6:38 pm Reply

Now do one on Whiskey!


Mar 3, 2019, 6:44 pm Reply

From the people that I know, those who extoll the virtues of red wine are usually the very ones who drink so much of it that there’s no benefit left .

Josephat Kibet

Mar 3, 2019, 6:52 pm Reply

What a boring presentation

Suhas S

Mar 3, 2019, 6:58 pm Reply

Because Game of Thrones subliminally conditioned Americans that red wine in cool.

Mazin Alzadjali

Mar 3, 2019, 7:17 pm Reply

Drinking alcohol is for idiots


Mar 3, 2019, 7:19 pm Reply


600 quality wieners.


Amogh Kudal

Mar 3, 2019, 7:33 pm Reply

Balloon Burst

Tyler Smith

Mar 3, 2019, 8:58 pm Reply

did he “since the dark age” then mentioned roman antiquity? which one is it

Gavan Schultz

Mar 3, 2019, 9:18 pm Reply

I swear every year all the food experts do complete 180s on their opinions


Mar 3, 2019, 10:04 pm Reply

The hosts aren’t drinking wine. They are drinking water. This video is BS! Tipsy hosts, or GTFO, Business Insider!

King.K The Best

Mar 3, 2019, 10:07 pm Reply

Alcohol is not good, so why drink it?

PRCY Tekuin

Mar 3, 2019, 10:09 pm Reply

I’ll just google it


Mar 3, 2019, 10:41 pm Reply

The captions are not in synchronization with the dialog.

Tranel Hawkins

Mar 3, 2019, 3:33 am Reply

This video is a lie, and has no basis in real science. Animal fat is not going to kill you, it’s the sugar they began to add to our food in 1976. French were not eating American processed crap.

thatboy dre

Mar 3, 2019, 3:45 am Reply

I bet the guy was drinking win with the surgeon


Mar 3, 2019, 7:04 am Reply

I know people who think drinking wine is good during pregnancy 🤦‍♂️ damn alcoholics


Mar 3, 2019, 1:05 pm Reply

Nice video, PS; your subs are out of sync.


Mar 3, 2019, 1:16 pm Reply

Water is the healthiest drink

Mr Memoji

Mar 3, 2019, 1:24 pm Reply

The question is – is wine comparatively healthier than other alcoholic drinks.

Val D

Mar 3, 2019, 1:42 pm Reply

The French one 😍😍

Patrick Fontaine

Mar 3, 2019, 3:40 pm Reply

Since the Dark Ages? They've been drinking wine waaaaaaay longer then that.


Mar 3, 2019, 3:52 pm Reply

Millennial superficiality.


Mar 3, 2019, 4:05 pm Reply

Big news… WATER is WET!

Masrur A.

Mar 3, 2019, 4:55 pm Reply


Kolos Kerékgyártó

Mar 3, 2019, 4:57 pm Reply

Its actually a Hungarian wine at 4:00 "Balaton" 😁😁😁

Snicker Bars

Mar 3, 2019, 5:43 pm Reply

Such a dragging documentary…….
Watch it at 2x rate…..!

Olivier B

Mar 3, 2019, 5:58 pm Reply

15% alcoll in a red wine, too much, good red wines are with 11 to 13 % alcool

Steven Shawa

Mar 3, 2019, 6:07 pm Reply

Oh look, wine consumption up since the 1940s. What about the population rise?

What a stupid representation of data.

jack smalls

Mar 3, 2019, 6:43 pm Reply



Mar 3, 2019, 8:12 pm Reply

Good journalism


Mar 3, 2019, 9:14 pm Reply

Wine and Chocolate is good and healthy for the body , keep in mind Life Is About Balance 🍷🍫😋

Red Balloon

Mar 3, 2019, 10:10 pm Reply

Arguably the best song of UB40. "Red, Red Wine"

Cyanist A

Mar 3, 2019, 11:20 pm Reply

Because red red wineeeee it's only youuuuuuuu


Mar 3, 2019, 11:36 pm Reply

LMAO that ladies hair!


Mar 3, 2019, 8:05 am Reply

So it isn’t good for you ????

Michael Harto

Mar 3, 2019, 12:02 pm Reply

Stop taking away everything enjoyable. I don't want to eat and drink soy everyday for the rest of my life.

Mark Fischer

Mar 3, 2019, 1:01 pm Reply

We now know the real enemy is carbohydrates, not fats. There are good fats and bad fats. Butter turns out to be good, margarine bad. Omega 3 is very heart healthy, omega 6 not so good. Trans fatty acids very bad. Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and many others are goid. Corn oil not so good. The worst foods are high fructose corn syrup, sugar, refined flour and other grains, potatoes.

America is now producing some of the finest wines in the world at bargain basement prices. I sold my superb collection of Classified Bordeaux for ridiculously high prices and I'm replacing them with California wines I like better at a fraction of the cost.


Mar 3, 2019, 1:09 pm Reply

Even in moderation alcohol is very dangerous

Patrick M

Mar 3, 2019, 2:11 pm Reply

The areas of the world with the longest lifespans all drink red wine multiple times per week. Look up “blue zones”

Nayib Kuncar

Mar 3, 2019, 5:30 pm Reply

Nobody is going to care if it’s bad for them, even if studies say so. People joke about it, people see alcohol as acceptable because their parents and everyone does it. If they try it and it doesn’t hurt them the first time. Why not take it again.

Logan Yang

Mar 3, 2019, 6:36 pm Reply

Why so much fluff, get to the point. Waste of time

Carver Bradley

Mar 3, 2019, 9:53 pm Reply

people drink gallons of wine that causes liver cirrhosis and is literally poison to your body but you’re an outcast if you like THC even though it’s scientifically healthy in certain doses/treatments


Apr 4, 2019, 4:37 am Reply

Living can cause death

Big Boy

Apr 4, 2019, 11:07 am Reply

The host looks bored and is boring

Marina Aaron

Apr 4, 2019, 12:01 pm Reply

im bothered by that guy's hair..


Apr 4, 2019, 12:35 pm Reply

Red wine is good for the eradication of seemingly incurable sadness

Jagan Joseph

Apr 4, 2019, 4:04 pm Reply

I swear the guy doing the voiceover is High or can't give a shit

Marem Warkhungam

Apr 4, 2019, 4:22 pm Reply

Drink water, water is healthy

Muhsin Mohammed

Apr 4, 2019, 6:04 pm Reply

Short Answer: No.

Well, I’ll be damned.

Apr 4, 2019, 6:39 pm Reply

6:44 She doesn't finish her thought, there.
"All this other stuff, while very interesting (don't forget the hollow-headed sounding upwards inflection), and may at some point have a good role are probably more on the periphery."
They may at some point have a good role – because we still don't know what we're talking about.

Ignacio Hdez-blanco

Apr 4, 2019, 6:47 pm Reply

Wine cant be translucent, if it is, its not good wine

Zaxaris Petixos

Apr 4, 2019, 7:26 pm Reply



Apr 4, 2019, 7:45 pm Reply

How can alcohol be good for you if it outweighs the benefits

Wayne Good

Apr 4, 2019, 8:06 pm Reply

Well both of my wife's parents were red wine drinkers and both lived over 100 years old !!! So explain that !!!! Wayne

bob smith

Apr 4, 2019, 8:27 pm Reply

Isn't having a heart attack/heart failure due primarily to the fact that their blood is CLOTTING because it's too thick, and alcohol of course has a major blood THINNING affect… Makes perfect sense


Apr 4, 2019, 8:35 pm Reply

Excuse me, what is that song 60 seconds in


Apr 4, 2019, 9:37 pm Reply

That 'I am dead inside' voice is enough to make us stay clear from the business insider videos.

APS – Pictures

Apr 4, 2019, 10:37 pm Reply

Everyone in this clip sounds sloshed…


Apr 4, 2019, 11:30 pm Reply

1:39. So much wrong with that map I don’t even know where to start…

dark zxt3rue

Apr 4, 2019, 12:40 am Reply

Wine or vodka?


Apr 4, 2019, 1:14 am Reply

Alcohol is listed by the World Health Organisation as a carcinogen. 10,000 years of alcohol in human history my ass. Half the world is Asian and many of them have flushing syndrome – they are literally allergic to Alcohol. There is only one reason alcohol is so popular and that is because weed was banned for so long.

Max’s Brandy Review

Apr 4, 2019, 1:28 am Reply

There have been many scientific studies performed. Red wine and scotch 2-3 0z at a time has incredible health benefits. The oldest living people on hearth drink a glass of whiskey before bed every night. Crap video

Sebastián M.

Apr 4, 2019, 2:57 am Reply

3 seconds of the video and with that voice I need a Redbull not wine

Dirt2Master GTCT

Apr 4, 2019, 3:32 am Reply

Where did people get the idea that red wine is healthy? To answer that we need to go….

Any normal person: search it up

Real answer: To France


Minh Long

Apr 4, 2019, 5:34 am Reply

yeesh i hope the cartoon with the watermelons aren't those weird old racist ones

PNG music collection

Apr 4, 2019, 6:22 am Reply

Watch at 1.25 speed… avoid falling asleep


Apr 4, 2019, 8:08 am Reply

I've heard that one glass a day is good for your health. It as antioxidants

Anas Takiyudin

Apr 4, 2019, 9:58 am Reply

34 years old and hv been sober my whole life

con Ba

Apr 4, 2019, 1:14 pm Reply

have you ever considered making a video about business? just an idea

Ahmad Ali Baig

Apr 4, 2019, 4:56 pm Reply

I'm a Muslim and the Qur'an came down about 1500 years ago and we've been told you should never drink a drop of alcohol and now science is backing us

Jose Salinas

Apr 4, 2019, 6:35 pm Reply

It isn’t really since all the solvents it has and pesticides they spray on the grapes

Little One

Apr 4, 2019, 7:30 pm Reply

I don't wanna know…
If wine ain't healthy…
Please don't let it show…
Oh baby ,I don't wanna know.

Arhun Mohammed

Apr 4, 2019, 8:47 pm Reply

Is this the Burger King foot lettuce guy?

Alperen Başer

Apr 4, 2019, 9:26 pm Reply

Thats why Islam bans such thing cause it s unhealty and you cannot control yourself .

Gentry Tipton

Apr 4, 2019, 10:16 pm Reply

No grain, no fruit, no roots. Those are placed in the environment for animals to forge on, not people.

Robert L. Penrose

Apr 4, 2019, 12:28 am Reply

The guy doing the video is so goofy I thought this video was a joke at first! Where is Business Insider recruiting?

Piak Piak

Apr 4, 2019, 1:34 am Reply

Sugar is worse than wine


Apr 4, 2019, 2:01 am Reply

I dont understand why people drink alcohol.


Apr 4, 2019, 2:20 am Reply

My Italian relatives were put on Primativo drips in hospital to extend their lives. Just kidding, i think its more to do with eating the foods your ancestors did. Thats why heart disease rates are higher in new and multicultural countries with different cuisines high in things like fats, carbs and alcohol and low in others.


Apr 4, 2019, 5:09 am Reply

If you drink wine and claim it’s healthy, you’re clearly an alcoholic and trying to justify it. It’s like smokers saying that cigs are healthy because it helps them with stress lol


Apr 4, 2019, 5:17 am Reply

This “ health chick” is reciting bro science from the food industry like saying to eat “ whole grains” and that “ animal products are bad”. Lol who funds her? What a total cook. Grains aren’t good for you. Consuming no grains is healthier than whole grains. And animal fats like wild caught salmon and grassfed beef and pasture raised organic eggs are actually super foods and extremely healthy…

Craig D

Apr 4, 2019, 6:04 am Reply

Wine is good for me, without it I'd kill myself.


Apr 4, 2019, 7:56 am Reply

Everything in moderation including moderation

Sadida Satri

Apr 4, 2019, 5:12 pm Reply

Ingrained in cultur never mean its good for u

Jake PK Rio

Apr 4, 2019, 11:47 pm Reply

For those noticing the hair & clothes, guy just time traveled from the 80's fresh from a research trip.

Darth Vader

Apr 4, 2019, 2:25 am Reply

Stop crybabies. Drink alcohol and enjoy life


Apr 4, 2019, 1:20 am Reply

Couldn’t get past the first two minutes. Just awful video.


Apr 4, 2019, 9:18 pm Reply

Da fuq with that hair?

E Meyer

Apr 4, 2019, 5:21 am Reply

Thanks they explained a cardiologist is a heart doctor! 😂

Nick Stahl

Apr 4, 2019, 7:00 am Reply


Raditya Oe

Apr 4, 2019, 4:25 pm Reply

Alcoholic justification

chad stern

Apr 4, 2019, 3:58 pm Reply

Please never use this journalist again.


Apr 4, 2019, 6:33 pm Reply

I don't really like any alcoholic drinks but there is one benefit that wine does have. The tannins and acids in red wine kill pathogenic bacteria that can contribute food poisoning. So, having a bottle of wine in the fridge, to stretch alongside your leftovers in small amounts can prevent some bad mornings on the toilet, but I wouldn't ever recommend drinking enough to become inebriated. This is probably why pirates liked wine so much because it allowed them to stretch out their rations even if they were getting to that questionable point. So it's less about antioxidants/heart health and more about gut health. Food poisoning bacteria can create dangerous pathogens that are bad for your bloodstream, maybe even more dangerous than acute amounts of alcohol if they become a systemic infection. But the other causes of heart disease are stress, anger, depression and sugar consumption, which Americans still have plenty of that wine alone wouldn't do much to change.

Joshua Martinez

Jun 6, 2019, 6:23 am Reply

Why is a kid running this interview..? Take your kids to work day is getting wild.

Sal Lizandro

Aug 8, 2019, 6:58 pm Reply

WINE is not health for you,
WINE is only designed to make you drunk ( wine is alcohol )

Ibrahim Donjue

Aug 8, 2019, 10:38 am Reply

You people are a bunch of idiots! Israel's people have been drinking wine for over 6.000 years! Then, if wine is no good why both of you drink wine at the begining of video?

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