For many of us, it’s the one thing that makes switching to a healthy eating regime bearable.

But now scientists are considering dropping red wine from the Mediterranean diet promoted as a healthy regime.

Along with fish, olive oil and fresh ingredients, red wine in moderation has always been considered one of the reasons for longer lifespans of Southern Europe as compounds found in the skin of grapes can help ward off killers such as heart disease, cancer and dementia.

The Mediterranean diet usually recommends a small glass or two of red wine a day with meals. 

But some studies suggest that there is no ‘safe amount’ of alcohol and that total abstention is best.

Red wine in moderation has always been considered one of the reasons for longer lifespans of Southern Europe (file photo)

Red wine in moderation has always been considered one of the reasons for longer lifespans of Southern Europe (file photo)

Compounds found in the skin of grapes can help ward off killers such as heart disease, cancer and dementia

Compounds found in the skin of grapes can help ward off killers such as heart disease, cancer and dementia

The European Research Council – an EU body – is funding a four-year study involving 10,000 Spaniards to see how moderate wine consumption affects health issues such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Dr Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez, who is leading the trial at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain published a paper last month entitled, ‘Should we remove wine from the Mediterranean diet?’ 

His previous research suggests doing so would reduce the effectiveness of the diet, but he has fears about encouraging people to drink to excess.

There are almost 21,000 alcohol-related deaths a year in England.

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