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Turns out maybe this isn't such a bad idea after all.
Turns out maybe this isn't such a bad idea after all.

Wine, Your Heart, and E-Bikes

Back in the disco days of the 1970s, researchers discovered the 'French Paradox.' The diet of the French people, in general, was just as heavy in saturated fats as the rest of Europe, yet they had a lower level of heart disease. The difference appeared to be wine. Now a new study finds a link between wine and exercise.

Most nights, I drink a glass of wine with dinner. Turns out I should be drinking two.

That's if you put an credence in a new study just reported at the annual conference of the European Society of Cardiology. That study, led by Miloš Táborský, head of cardiology at the Palacký University Hospital in Olomouc in the Czech Republic, found a correlation between the moderate consumption of wine and exercise in improving cholesterol levels (increased HDL and decreased LDL).

Reporting in The Atlantic, James Hamblin quotes Dr. Táborský:

"Our current study shows that the combination of moderate wine drinking plus regular exercise improves markers of atherosclerosis, suggesting that this combination is protective against cardiovascular disease."

The year-long study had two groups of people drinking red Pinot Noir and a white Chardonnay-pinot, looking to see if there was any measurable difference between the two types of wine. Earlier studies seemed to indicate red wines were better for you than whites.

Explains Hamblin, it wasn't just the wine by itself that made the difference.

"...drinking wine did not appreciably affect cholesterol, blood glucose, triglycerides, or levels of inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein. It also did not appreciably damage people’s livers during the year, at least, based on liver-function tests."

It was when the researchers looked more closely at the exercise regimen of the subjects that they discovered the difference.

"We found that moderate wine drinking was only protective in people who exercised. Red and white wine produced the same results," stated Táborský.

Author Hamblin cautions, however, that wine consumption has its own risks. Drinking alcohol is blamed for some 3.3 million deaths annually. Even the moderate imbibing of wine has been linked to increased risk of esophageal and breast cancers, he points out.

Still the “French Paradox", first discovered in the 1970s, that found the French were less susceptible to heart disease despite eating a diet high in saturated fats, pointed to wine consumption as a strong causal factor.

Now we see that exercise - even just twice a week as in the case of Czech study - also plays a significant role. Which brings me to my friend Rakesh Dhawan's Kickstarter campaign.

Rakesh is one of the engineers who developed the hub motor on my 14-year old Wavecrest TidalForce M750 electric bicycle. Having ridden other e-bikes of the time, Wavecrest's motor was phenomenal: powerful and dead silent. His company, Falco Motors, has improved on that design, making it smaller and even more capable. But his team also added a new feature: the ability to control the motor with your heart rate. You set a target heart rate on the smartphone App and the system provides the amount of pedal assistance you desire to meet your target. Purists, of course, are likely to scoff at the idea of getting exercise on an electric bicycle, but a fair amount of research has demonstrated real physiological benefits. Falco's system provides a way to measure and track this in real time.

Now all he needs to do is add the wine rack and cork puller!

Oh yes, and how much wine consumption daily is considered 'moderate'? For a man, two glasses. For a woman, one glass. Good thing I drink 'three buck Chuck.'

Posted By: Bill Moore [05-Sep-2014]

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