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Sunday 31 March 2019

Alors! French told to drink less wine

When I lived in France, my GP (once the mistress of President Mitterand, so the gossip went) encouraged my consumption of red wine, assuring me it was good for my health. 

Times change, however, and this week health officials in France have told the nation that it should be drinking no more than two glasses of wine a day, and not everyday, to reduce the risk of alcohol-related diseases.

Santé Publique France said almost a quarter of French adults are regularly drinking too much alcohol, and this level of drinking is killing 41,000 people a year, making it the second-biggest cause of avoidable deaths in the country after smoking, Drinks Business reported.

“It’s about 10.5 million adults who drink too much," said Viet Nguyen-Thanh, head of Santé Publique France. "They drink in proportions that increase the risks to their health, including cancers, high blood pressure, cerebral hemorrhage and cardiovascular diseases.”

In its official guidance, Santé Publique France is advising people to drink no more than 10 glasses of wine each week, with that being the equivalent of 100ml a glass, totalling just under a bottle and half a week. 

It sounds downright unFrench to me. 

“For your health, alcohol should be limited to a maximum of two glasses per day, and not every day either,” the new campaign from Santé Publique France says.

The French have an average annual consumption per person of 12.6 litres of alcohol, well behind Lithuania’s 15 litres and Germany’s 13.4 litres. 

Jérôme Villaret, general delegate of Languedoc AC winemakers, told La Depeche: “This kind of publicity campaign upsets the moderate consumer,” he said. "To us, these kinds of studies just make consumers feel guilty.”

The new nationwide campaign about the dangers of alcohol will run until April 12.

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