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Showing posts from April, 2011

Should diabetics drink wine?

An epidemic of type 2 diabetes looms over the western world, with some estimates predicting that as many as a third of all Americans will have the condition within a decade or two. Obesity is the culprit, a complicated issue to be sure but the role of wine in the diet of diabetics is even more so. A recent study finding that low-dose supplements of the wine-derived polyphenol resveratrol improve glucose tolerance and other parameters in humans provides some guidance in sorting it all out.


It has long been known that wine drinkers, especially those who consume red wine in moderation with dinner on a daily basis, are less likely to gain weight and hence less prone to type 2 diabetes. There are a number of potential explanations, including the fact that wine drinking is linked to a range of healthy lifestyle factors including diet and exercise, but the science of wine polyphenols – including the antioxidant resveratrol – provides some intriguing evidence of a biochemical mechanism at wor…

A charitable view of wine and health

As most of you know I am on the board for the Washington Wines Festival, which raises awareness of Washington’s wonderful wines and funds for worthy charities such as Camp Korey. The wine business has a long and laudable history of charity, dating at least as far back as the famous Hospices de Beaune in Burgundy. Dating to 1443, the hospice was a hospital for the poor and needy, supported by funds raised from the local wine producers. To this day an important wine auction is held every November at the Hospice, maintaining a centuries-long tradition.


Health care continues to be a popular beneficiary of charity wine auctions, and there are some interesting parallels to the circumstances that prevail today with the conditions at the time of the founding of the Hospices de Beaune. The Hundred Years War had just ended, but the long conflict had been financially ruinous. Marauders roamed the countryside, pillaging and plundering, and much of the population was destitute. The Hospice became …