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French paradox

The French paradox is a name for the perceived paradox that people in France suffer relatively low incidence of coronary heart disease, despite their diet being rich in saturated fats. The term is often confused with the related but different notion of the Mediterranean diet.

It has been suggested that France's high red wine consumption is a primary factor in the trend. This theory was expounded in an influential 60 Minutes broadcast in 1992. The program catalysed a large increase in North American demand for red wines from around the world.

The medical causes of the French paradox are still not entirely clear, however. A number of studies have been made and the balance of opinions seems to be moving away from wine consumption as the primary cause.