French Paradox

Mireille Guiliano

The French Paradox is the observation that French people suffer a relatively low incidence of coronary heart disease, despite having a diet relatively rich in saturated fats. The term French Paradox was coined by Dr. Serge Renaud, a scientist from Bordeaux University in France. It has been suggested that France’s high red wine consumption is a primary factor in the trend.

This hypothesis was expounded in a 60 Minutes broadcast in 1991. It is believed that one of the components of red wine potentially related to this effect is resveratrol. Statistics collected by the WHO from 1990–2000 show that the incidence of heart disease in France may have been underestimated, and may in fact be similar to that of neighboring countries.

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