In case you're wondering, the key word in the study is not beer. It's moderate, which researchers define as roughly two 12-ounce beers per day for men, one for women. So, if you are currently at a football stadium during the second half or in a dimly lit bar around closing time, there's a good chance that another beer will not be what the doctor ordered.

Still, the stunning news from the medical world is one of those rare occurrences that could profoundly change the way we conduct our lives. I can see it now: Health freaks everywhere will put aside their carrot juice and start drinking Budweiser. Gym rats will get up off their exercise mats and head to the nearest tavern instead. Homer Simpson, holding aloft a can of his beloved Duff, will grace the cover of Prevention magazine, his pear-shaped physique the picture of health.

And we'll all be left to ask, What next? Potato chips? Bacon cheeseburgers?

It won't be long before we'll be living a real-life version of Woody Allen's Sleeper, a movie set in the future, where "deep fat and hot fudge are known for their health-giving properties."

Forget apples. It seems a beer a day keeps the doctor away.

Yet my jubilation is tempered by the sadness of knowing how difficult this news must be for the French. As protectors of the supremacy of wine and of all else worth being smug about, they have to be standing around, grumbling into their glasses of Chateau des Grapes de Sour, "Zis is le outrage."