01/29/2013 12:44 pm ET Updated Mar 31, 2013

Wine Is Healthier Than Coke

Several images float before me when I note Coca-Cola's efforts to "engage" in the health and obesity debate.

One is of Don Johnson (of Miami Vice fame), when he signed on to shill for Pepsi (he later shifted to Coke) saying how he would have been a lot better off if he had consumed more Pepsi when he was drinking alcohol. But, according to Mark Bittman of the Times, "There is virtual consensus that drinking too much soda is bad for you." In particular, that it is related to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

This contrasts with the repeated finding that regular, light-moderate alcohol consumption is associated with reduced risk of heart disease and, thus, overall mortality. Ironically, when people disbelieve this finding, they claim the alcohol industry is polluting the airwaves with misinformation. But, as Bittman describes, nothing compares with the Coca-Cola media juggernaut.

Another image I have is of Southern Baptists and others who claim that Jesus didn't really drink wine and that the Jewish prayer for wine likewise doesn't involve alcohol (a Jewish woman who interviewed me for CNN told me the latter) -- it was grape juice they meant. Just think, if you will, how quickly the fermentation process takes hold in a Mediterranean/desert climate before the era of refrigeration and ice.

And, so, we confront an era when we have to eliminate the ubiquity of sugary drinks -- including even fruit juice. And, then, what will we drink? Bittman makes clear that it should be water.

That's one possibility.

For more by Stanton Peele, click here.

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