Wednesday 19 December 2018

Doctors criticise Emmanuel Macron's defence of drinking wine twice a day

Wine buff Emmanuel Macron
Wine buff Emmanuel Macron

Henry Samuel

French President Emmanuel Macron's staunch defence of drinking wine twice a day has come under fire from a group of French doctors, who said yesterday that "seen from the liver" it was as bad for one's health as any other alcoholic beverage.

Mr Macron offered his outspoken support for the famously French tipple at last month's annual agricultural fair, confessing to drinking glasses at lunch and dinner.

He promised not to tighten the so-called Evin law, which restricts advertising on alcoholic beverages. "It is a blight on public health when young people get drunk at an accelerated speed with alcohol or beer, but this is not the case with wine," said Mr Macron, adding that critics shouldn't "bug the French" over an age-old pleasure.

His ode to wine was designed to quell fury among French producers over recent comments from his health minister Agnès Buzyn, who warned the drink was bad for people's health.

"The French population is led to believe that wine protects them, that it offers benefits that other alcohol does not," Ms Buzyn, a haematologist, said in a television interview. "It's false. Scientifically, wine is an alcohol like any other."

Amid an outpouring of anger in grape-growing regions, cabinet members were dispatched to wax lyrical about wine's special status. But in a column in yesterday's 'Le Figaro', a group of nine leading doctors said the health minister "was left well alone in a government which denies the scientific evidence and appears more sensitive to the interests of alcohol than the general good".

As for Mr Macron's claim that the real scourge were spirits consumed in binge drinking, the doctors pointed out that "wine represents 60pc of the consumption of alcohol", which "kills 50,000 people per year" in France.

© Daily Telegraph, London

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