Are wine drinkers smarter ...

... than beer drinkers? And better adjusted?

Aug 23, 2001 - A study that started out trying to explain the apparent health benefits of drinking red wine suggests that wine drinkers could be smarter than beer drinkers and better adjusted.


The report published in the Archives of Internal Medicine confirms that moderate wine drinkers experience better overall health than either abstainers or those who choose other alcoholic beverages. The conventional view, associated with the now famous French Paradox, is that red wine contains compounds that raise good cholesterol levels and reduce the blood's tendency to clot, promoting overall cardiac health.

However, the researchers conclude, it may not be ingredients in the wine itself. They argue that it's the higher socioeconomic status, elevated IQ, and enhanced personality function of average wine-drinkers that are the probable sources of the good health and comparative longevity they enjoy.

They based their conclusion on data from the Copenhagen City Heart Study, which began tracking changes in health after Denmark joined the European Union in 1973. By tradition a beer-drinking people, the Danes migrated gradually toward wine over the next 25 years. By the 1990s, marked differences could already be observed between wine- and beer-drinking segments of the population.

For example, on tests designed to measure personality function, psychiatric symptoms, and health-related behaviors, wine drinkers routinely outscored beer drinkers, showing fewer neurotic tendencies, and less inclination to anxiety, alcohol abuse, and smoking. Beer drinkers of both sexes had consistently lower IQ scores than wine drinkers. Males who drank beer only averaged 95.2, while wine drinkers scored 113.2.

In light of the strong links already established between intelligence, social status, and psychological well-being, the researchers concluded, the medical benefits associated with wine drinking "are not likely due to the direct physiological effects of the beverage itself."

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