The resveratrol myth: Supposed health benefits of red wine and chocolate ‘unfounded’, research finds

Claims of the healthy and life-extending properties of a much-hyped ingredient in red wine and chocolate are unfounded, research suggests.

The anti-oxidant resveratrol, found in dark chocolate, red wine, and berries, has no significant impact on life-span, heart disease or cancer, say scientists. It cannot explain the “French Paradox” – the low incidence of heart disease suffered by people in France despite a diet laden with cholesterol and saturated fat, they believe.

Other as-yet unidentified plant compounds might be conferring health benefits associated with their diet, according to the study.

The lead researcher Professor Richard Semba, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, US, said: “The story of resveratrol turns out to be another case where you get a lot of hype about health benefits that doesn’t stand the test of time.

“The thinking was that certain foods are good for you because they contain resveratrol. We didn’t find that.”

Belief in the properties of resveratrol has led to a plethora of supplements containing the compound.

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