The Physics Police

The Physics Police

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Red Wine Is Not Exercise

Some online rag called the Elite Daily, which claims to be the premier online news platform for and by millennials, has this article titled A Glass Of Red Wine May Be Equivalent To An Hour At The Gym.
According to a study on the health benefits of resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, your body could receive some of the benefits of hitting the gym without sweat-inducing exercise.
The two-year-old paper they're referencing studied the effects of high doses of resveratrol on rats. They found that rats built more muscle on a 12-weeks progressive treadmill running program when 4 g/kg of resveratrol was added to their diet.

It's important to understand that this study did not compare resveratrol against exercise. It compared resveratrol plus exercise against exercise alone. In other words, says nothing about taking resveratrol instead of sweat-inducing exercise. It should be obvious that resveratrol is no substitute for exercise. Exercise has many benefits. Increasing skeletal muscle is only one of them.

Despite not being comparable to an hour at the gym, just how much red wine would you have to drink to achieve the studied dose of resveratrol?

Red wine can contain as much as 12.59 mg/L resveratrol. Assuming a person eats about 5 lbs of food per day, we can calculate the volume of wine you'd need to drink.

(5 lbs) * (4 g/kg) / (12.59 mg/L) = 720.56 L

That's 4,873 glasses of red wine. Per day.

Drink up!
Of course, no human can drink that much in one day. Since wine contains at least 9% alcohol by volume, all that drinking earns you a daily dose of 50.7 kg alcohol. The LD50 of alcohol is 5 g/kg. Assuming an 80 kg human, we can calculate how many times the lethal dose you'd receive on the Elite Daily's red wine diet.

(50.7 kg / 80 kg) / (5 g/kg) = 126.75

Not doctor recommended.

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