Drinking malt whisky may help prevent cancer, a scientific conference has been told.
The medicinal properties of antioxidants in red wine are well known, but delegates at a biochemistry conference were told that whisky offered "even greater health benefits".
Dr Jim Swan, a consultant to the drinks industry, said: "There has been much in the news about the health benefits of antioxidants in red wine. By contrast, very little has been said about malt whisky distillery science.
"However, research has shown that there are even greater health benefits to people who drink single malt whiskies. Why? Single malt whiskies have more ellagic acid than red wine."
Speaking at the EuroMedLab conference in Glasgow, he said ellagic acid absorbed rogue cells in the body. "So, whether you indulge in the odd tipple, or you are a serious connoisseur, whisky can protect you from cancer and science proves it," he said.
However, Dr Lesley Walker of Cancer Research UK, pointed out that the same acid was found in fruit, and said she was "very concerned" that whisky was being promoted as a cancer prevention agent without data to support the claim.
"On the contrary, there is considerable data documenting the link between drinking excess alcohol and the increased risk of a number of cancers, particularly in smokers," she said.
"Ellagic acid is a powerful antioxidant but that does not mean it is necessary to hit the bottle.
"There is an abundance of this acid in soft fruits and the charity suggests this as a much healthier way of increasing antioxidant intake."
12:01AM BST 09 May 2005
Article was taken from Telegraph