Wednesday, 05 June 2019 09:10

DWA symposium at Congress of Internal Medicine, Wiesbaden, Germany

Does an evidence-based objective evaluation of the topic “wine and health” exist, especially regarding a subject such as cancer?

Wine and health – is it allowed to establish a relationship?

The combination of wine and health is a sensitive issue. During the DWA symposium, the existing evidence-based science was summarised and discussed.

The nutritionist Prof. Nicolai Worm and the cardiologist Prof. Markus Flesch chaired the symposium and welcomed Dr. Lukas Schwingshackl (Institute of Evidence in Medicine and the Cochrane Foundation Germany at the University Hospital, Freiburg, Germany) and the physician of internal medicine and diabetes Prof. Kristian Rett (Amedes, Munich).

Mediterranean diet and risk of cancer

Right at the beginning of his talk, Dr. Schwingshackl explained that hardly any controlled interventional studies exist. Very large meta-analyses of observational studies indicate, however, that a Mediterranean-type eating pattern is associated with a lower risk of cancer. A moderate consumption of wine as well as a higher presence of olive oil, fruit and vegetables are part of the Mediterranean diet. The few existing studies, where the effect of wine was explicitly examined, even showed that moderate wine consumption was associated with a reduced cancer risk. Studies that say the opposite have not separated wine from other alcoholic beverages, which is extremely important since wine can not be considered as just “alcohol”. 

Postfactual times

Prof. Rett appealed to the physicians to analyse, compare and put the scientific evidence into concrete perspective before relying on headlines. It is even more important to rely on the usual evidence-based decision making, which defines the evidence levels and then formulates the clinical recommendations. It is called “postfactual” when the public opinion is influenced by emotions and personal belief rather than objective facts.

With current scientific publications, Rett showed that it is not always objective when dealing with wine and its health effects.

It is understood that no alcoholic beverage should be consumed by children, pregnant women and when driving. But at the same time, moderate wine consumption as part of a healthy lifestyle has its legitimate place. This is evidence-based.

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