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Wine and Health: the “French Paradox” is definitely dead

M Buchet

22 Feb 2024

In a totally unexpected way, a study of unequalled magnitude was published on August 23, 2018 by the international journal The Lancet. The size of the population studied (28 million people from 195 countries), the skills mobilized (1,800 researchers in 127 countries) and the duration of the study (25 years) make the conclusions indisputable.

Just one drink a day is enough to increase your risk of developing one of 23 health problems health associated with alcohol, including a large number of cancers;

• There is no protective effect at low doses, contrary to what the market is trying to sell us alcohol lobby;

• The increase in risk is small at one drink per day, but increases rapidly thereafter.

• The publication of this survey had the effect of a thunderbolt and the media coverage immediately set about putting an end to the “myth of the healthy drink”. August 23 2018, the “French Paradox” is definitely dead

Globally, alcohol use was the seventh leading risk factor for both deaths and DALYs in 2016, accounting for 2·2% (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 1·5–3·0) of age-standardised female deaths and 6·8% (5·8–8·0) of age-standardised male deaths. Among the population aged 15–49 years, alcohol use was the leading risk factor globally in 2016, with 3·8% (95% UI 3·2–4·3) of female deaths and 12·2% (10·8–13·6) of male deaths attributable to alcohol use. For the population aged 15–49 years, female attributable DALYs were 2·3% (95% UI 2·0–2·6) and male attributable DALYs were 8·9% (7·8–9·9). The three leading causes of attributable deaths in this age group were tuberculosis (1·4% [95% UI 1·0–1·7] of total deaths), road injuries (1·2% [0·7–1·9]), and self-harm (1·1% [0·6–1·5]). For populations aged 50 years and older, cancers accounted for a large proportion of total alcohol-attributable deaths in 2016, constituting 27·1% (95% UI 21·2–33·3) of total alcohol-attributable female deaths and 18·9% (15·3–22·6) of male deaths. The level of alcohol consumption that minimised harm across health outcomes was zero (95% UI 0·0–0·8) standard drinks per week.


Alcohol use is a leading risk factor for global disease burden and causes substantial health loss. We found that the risk of all-cause mortality, and of cancers specifically, rises with increasing levels of consumption, and the level of consumption that minimises health loss is zero. These results suggest that alcohol control policies might need to be revised worldwide, refocusing on efforts to lower overall population-level consumption.

Read the full Lancet article here:

Alcohol use and burden for 195 countries and territories, 1990–2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016

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