Resveratrol may be the first real antiaging drug, but don’t drink to your health just yet.

It seems too good to be true: A drug that would let you eat all the bread, cheese, cream sauce and red meat you wanted without risking coronary disease, while at the same time decreasing insulin levels, decreasing blood pressure, increasing good cholesterol and extending your lifespan to a degree normally achieved through strict dieting.

Welcome to the promises of resveratrol, a compound in red wine that first gained recognition for its role in the French Paradox—the fact that the fatty food-consuming French have low levels of heart disease—and is now gaining attention as an antiaging compound that could have the same impact as an extremely low-calorie diet.

Of course, stories of miracle antiaging drugs are so cliché that anyone unfamiliar with recent discoveries would rightly scoff at the notion of life-extending resveratrol pills. But in this case, the story’s more complicated than those of sophisticated scam artists and overblown health claims. While the small molecule has attracted much controversy, resveratrol continues to show promise as the first true antiaging drug.

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