Allegrini 2018

“Wine is one of the pleasures of life, why deprive yourself of it?” says the luminary David Khayat

The thoughts of the French doctor, former leader of the “Institute National du Cancer” (and his new book) are at the center of many heated discussions
“Wine is one of the pleasures of life, why deprive yourself of it?”. Word of David Khayat

Is depriving yourself of a glass of good wine or a slice of ham really necessary to be at peace with your health? It has been a long-standing and controversial issue that has divided many. For instance, just think of the European Commission’s recent proposal of notices to be placed on labels of products such as wine and meat, which are the same as on tobacco. Furthermore, approval is not unanimous even among doctors, including a luminary like David Khayat, the world-famous French oncologist and former president of the “Institute National du Cancer”. The doctor, as stated on the specialized site “The Drink Busines”, has been spreading the message that people should indulge in “some small excesses, and not feel guilty”. The message in Khayat’s latest book, “Arrêtez de Vous Priver” (Stop Depriving Yourself) as well as his point of view are very clear, and have immediately begun to make people talk. According to the specialist, constant denial transmitted by organizations, governments and some doctors is actually harmful to the mind, while instead making little difference to the body. In an interview with Adam Sage of the “Times”, Khayat said that the health risks of consuming the most singled out foods, such as chips, meat and alcohol are “inflated” by some doctors who, he added, are eager to impose their “hygienic” vision of society. The interview took place, as a matter of fact, a few days after the presentation of the European Union Commission program for the fight against cancer, which opened the debate on several critical points for the wine world as well, as WineNews had reported.
The “crusade to excess”, therefore, has found an out of the box, authoritative voice in Dr. Khayat, who has been critical of the “dogmatic” approach of the World Health Organization, rejecting their guide on risks, from electronic cigarettes to processed meat. An example of this is - consumption of 50 grams of processed meat per day increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.
Further, in the Times, Khayat said that, “they tell you that the increase in risk is 18%, but they do not tell you what your risk was in the first place. As a matter of fact, it is 2%. So, if you gorge yourself on ham, your risk ranges from 2% to just over 2%. Is it worth depriving yourself of a slice of ham for this?” Therefore, he suggested the philosophy of Epicurus, who recommended enjoying modest pleasures to keep your mind at peace.
Essentially, Khayat is saying that people “need balance” and, after recommending drinking wine and having sex, he said “life without pleasure is meaningless”. According to Khayat, who developed France’s first national cancer program, the imposition of certain “diktats” is unjustified and undermines self-esteem. Khayat’s opinion has found wide acceptance in a country like France that has a historic food and wine culture, and which has set the standard for lifestyles. While his comments have indeed generated “a fierce public debate”, according to the “Times”, they were received very differently in France, and the French newspaper “Le Figaro” praised his “positive and liberating message”.

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