If the drinker paradox states that in any pub there is a customer such that, if he or she drinks, everybody in the pub drinks and the diamond-water paradox states that water is more useful than diamonds, yet is a lot cheaper , then the French paradox that the French suffer a relatively low incidence of coronary heart disease despite a diet relatively rich in saturated fats, must certainly be true.
The French paradox became popular on an episode of 60 minutes in 1991 with the incorporation of research supporting, red wine as the reason for the decrease in heart disease. Shortly after the show aired wine sales went up 44 percent.
In general, the popularization of red wine has been lucrative. Red wine sales in the U.K. are said to have increased 50 percent from the early 1990’s as referenced in a 1999 article “Your Good Health” in Waitrose Food.
The plant produced antibiotic, resveratol, found in grape skins is one of the supporting factors behind wine as the secret behind the French Paradox. The phytoalexin that is also sold as a supplement is linked to longevity, cancer prevention and improved athletic performance as stated in a 1993 study by Dr. Serge Renaud, a scientist from Bordeaux University in France whose research supported claims that red wine was responsible for the explanation behind the French paradox.
A 2004 study involving resveratol in the American Journal of Physiology talks about its aid against the stress related condition called cardio fibrosis which makes it more difficult for the heart to pump blood. Though the natural antibiotic is found in grapes, red wine, grape juice, dark beers and tea, it should be noted that it is absent in white wine, light beers and spirits.
In contradiction to claims made by Renaud, a 1994 study by experts at the Department of Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, found a different reason for the paradox. In the study that measured 40 countries and 40 dietary variables, France stood out as having a higher consumption rate of plant foods, such as vegetables and vegetable oils containing monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, containing protective agents against coronary heart disease.
The French paradox was originally exposed in 1819 by the Irish physician, Samuel Black. Despite the varying studies, which aim to explain such a phenomenon, another less sustained idea involving the consumption of wine or beer on a regular basis, can perhaps be an explanation.
One reference regarding the less supported idea that alcohol in general can be beneficial for the heart can be found in a 2003 New England Journal of Medicine article. It is surmised by Professor Morten Grønbæk who is the director of the Centre for Alcohol Research in Copenhagen, Denmark. “The main conclusion of (that) paper is that, in terms of cardiovascular disease, it doesn't really matter how much you drink as long as you drink regularly."