In a shocking scenario bordering
on bizarre, smelling of sensationalism and impregnated with
ignorant and irresponsible rhetoric, scores of leading doctors
participating in a national health summit organised by ASOCHAM
in Delhi last Tuesday concurred that wine, beer or any alcohol
could not be good for health.
Dismissing the widely held theory that
red wine is good for health, leading Indian doctors Tuesday
said that no one in the world has proved the positive side
of either the red wine or any category of alcohol, reports
'I have gone through nearly 1.6 crores
(16 million) articles on health and alcohol but none has
proved that alcohol is good for health especially for heart,'
said H. K. Chopra, chief cardiologist at Moolchand Medicity.
'It's simply a perception among people
that taking red wine will do wonder for heart. Why don't
they take grape juice instead?' Chopra, who is also the
chairman of the World Heart Academy, said.
M.C. Mishra head of surgery at the All
India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here said: 'People
drink alcohol, smoke five packets of cigarettes but never
bother to take fruits. In the name of anti-oxidants, these
wine companies promote wine and people blindly believe it.'
India needs more of health clubs and wellness
centres rather than hospitals, said B.K. Rao chairman of
Sir Ganga Ram Hospital .
'Most of our people are not health conscious.
They take all junk foods, aerated drinks, alcohol and other
unnecessary things and complain about the increasing disease
'No one speaks about the benefits of exercise
but are loud about wine. It's a worrying trend. We need
good food and regular exercise to keep out heart healthy
not red wine,' Rao told IANS on the sidelines of the summit.
S. C. Manchanda, a former head of cardiology
at AIIMS expressed similar opinion and urged people to drink
water instead of wine. 'Drink water, it will keep your body
and mind clean.'
Shikha Sharma, a nutritionist also snubbed
the idea of alcohol as a health enhancer. 'When people already
have so much of burden, they cannot afford more with wine
or any other form of alcohol. What we need is a balanced
Chopra also said that the growing nightclubs
and pubs are just promoting alcohol among youngsters and
it is worsening the situation. 'Sedentary lifestyle coupled
with stress and alcohol are making the chronic disease scenario
worst in India .'
Cardiologists of some of the known hospitals
such as Moolchand Medicity, AIIMS, Max Heart & Vascular
Institute and Ganga Ram Hospital took part in the debate.
According to the cardiologists, wine intake adds toxic content
to the human body. It damages and decays heart.
Therefore, cardiologists have suggested
immediate ban on mushrooming pubs and bars in cities, especially
in Delhi . Max Heart & Vascular Institute chairman Ashok
Seth said ignorance among the people must be unfolded to
discourage intake of alcohol and wine. The emergency health
facilities in India are inadequate and hospitals are ill-equipped
to look after patients.
Reacting to the 'ridiculous report', Dr.
Tedd Goldfinger, a cardiologist from Arizona, USA, who is
also the convenor of the International Wine and Heart Summit
held biennially in Napa said he would reply to the report
in a few days with facts and figures. So would Dr. Klatsky
of San Francisco who is considered a pioneer in conducting
heart and wine studies for a period of 20 years, the results
of which were published tin1998. Dr. Curt Ellison of Boston
and many other doctors who have been involved with serious
studies of years and who do not comment on the social aspects
have promised to send their rebuttal soon along with facts
In the meantime, our readers' views are
solicited. Any facts presented to ASSOCHAM at this conference
will also be sought along with possible interviews with
the participating senior doctors who were present. I have
been attending the international health and wine conferences
in the USA and interacting with several cardiologists and
educationists overseas. Their opinion based on the studies
carried out so far is unanimous: wine or any alcohol when
taken regularly in moderate quantity; 2 glasses a day, is
positively good for the heart and many other health related
issues without any harm to liver. Wine has anti-oxidants
which have shown several additional benefits in different
These studies are done by non-wine related
funding, usually by the governments or some other foundation
More than two glasses are however, harmful
for liver, heart, BP and many other organs, and certainly
not advised if one is driving afterwards. A glass of wine
a day is now recommended in the Health food plan issued
by the government in the US as also in Denmark and several
other countries. In fact China has reduced duties on wine
so people can shift from higher alcohol drinks to wine,
considered good for health. Details will be published in
forthcoming issues of delWine. Watch this space - editor
DelWine recommends moderate amount of wine
consumption as a healthy lifestyle product regularly, preferably
with meals. But if one does not drink alcohol for social,
religion or moral reasons, one is advised not to start drinking.
Drink wine, quality wine, regularly
but moderately -editor