Medical Definition of French paradox

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

French paradox: 1. The paradox that France enjoys a relatively low incidence of coronary heart disease and a relatively long lifespan, despite a diet high in saturated fats. The explanations proposed include the consumption of wine, specifically red wine, alcohol, and resveratrol, an antioxidant in wine.
2. The perplexing disconnect between France's rich cuisine and slender population. This paradox has been explained in part by portions that are significantly smaller in French restaurants and supermarkets than in their American counterparts.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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