For years scientists have been trying to figure out just what it is in wine that apparently makes wine drinkers more resistant to coronary heart disease and certain cancers. The idea was to isolate the magic component and turn it into a pill, e.g. Resveratrol.
Mark Schatzker in a new book (The Dorito Effect) reports on a Danish experiment that is both elegant and brilliant. They examined grocery receipts, ultimately looking at 3.5 million transactions. "They found that wine drinkers didn't shop the same way as beer drinkers. [I don't know how much consideration they gave to lemonade drinkers.] Wine drinkers were more likely to place olives, low-fat cheese, fruits and vegetables, low-fat meat, spices and tea in their carts. Beer drinkers on the other hand, were more likely to reach for the chips, ketchup, margarine, sugar, ready-cooked meals, and soft drinks."
The inevitable conclusion might be that "perhaps the health of wine drinkers isn't caused by the wine so much as by the fact that wine drinkers like wine in the first place. . . .It comes down to what a person finds delicious." [I'm screwed.]