I am 55 yr old male, usually very fit and active. I've been a competitive cyclist for the past 25 years. I have drunk red wine four out of every seven nights of the week for 30 years and on two nights a week I might drink a couple of beers or some white wine. I usually drink French reds or sometimes Italian (I do believe that some wines don't contain sulfites).

I've noticed on several occasions that after Pinot Grigio and some other whites and after certain beers that I would get heart palpitations similar to what you describe - very uncomfortable and even more frightening, even wondering if I would wake up dead the following morning.

Recently my palpitations have continued 24 hrs a day for the past four weeks. I went to a cardiologist and he told me I had arrythmia and went through the options.

I decided to experiment and cut out wine and beer altogether for a week. I started to feel better and tried small doses of French red wine which seemed to have no effect. Then I tried some white and the palpitations came back.

Two days ago I bought some cider (in the USA) and I've drunk two bottles a day for three days. I noticed at the time that it contains sulfites and subsequently my palpitations have reared up again.

Doctors and popular opinion just tell you to cut out alcohol, but I don't think it is the alchol at all. I don't think it's related to the colour of the wine either, but purely to the amount of sulfites it contains.

I will now be looking to eliminate sulfites altogether from my diet - Carl (USA)

UPDATE several days later: That American cider was the worst. After three days of feeling awful I drank four small glasses of a nice Cotes du Rhone last night and woke up feeling fine. I try to stick to a lot of French produce - the list of ingredients on American foods reads like a chemistry lab inventory!