Monday, 19 September 2011

Australian non sequitur

As Autumn approaches we are brought down to earth with a bump as an Australian health body is adamantly declaring that alcohol does you no good at all. The 'Alcohol Policy Coalition' says that more than half of all alcohol-related deaths globally are from diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer or liver cirrhosis. Now here they are undoubtedly stating no less than the truth - but what they seem to have ignored is the length of life before death. After all, the fuss about the French paradox was not that Frenchmen didn't die (that really would have been a marketing gift for their wines!) but that they died later (or lived longer, to put it a little more genteely) than most and in particular than would be expected from their fat and alcohol intake. That seems still to hold. The message is still that red wine in moderation is likely to help you live longer and, we hope, more happily. But not, alas, for ever...

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