August 13, 2013

The French Paradox - Slim on Cheese and Wine

The French Paradox is the contradiction between scientific theory and real world facts.  

Why Does The French Paradox Work?
Not convinced? Check out how, why and in what context the French diet works for the French people.  
Despite regularly eating rich foods like pastries, cheeses and cream sauces, France has a remarkably low obesity rate and this has mostly to do with their eating style. Unlike North Americans who tend to shovel down processed foods as if eating were a race, the French eat leisurely. And because wine and conversation play essential roles in their social ritual, getting a little tipsy on a bottle of Bordeaux actually helps digestion by slowing things down. They spend more time during the day with food as a focus than do Americans (Kahneman et al., 2010). These findings indicate that there are certain cultural values and practices that allow the French to separate food and the pleasure of eating from the drive to be slim. (cont.) 
French portions are smaller than American portions.
There is direct evidence in the abundance–moderation contrast of the American and French eating environments. French portion sizes are notably smaller than American portion sizes (Rozin et al., 2003). Part of the “French Paradox” can be explained by the fact that the French eat less than Americans. French portion sizes are smaller in comparable restaurants, in the sizes of individual portions of foods in supermarkets, in portions specified in cookbooks and in the prominence of “all you can eat” restaurants in American dining guides and the idea that one should stuff oneself on the national holiday, Thanksgiving.
 The French take longer to eat than Americans.
Ironically, although the French eat less than Americans, they eat for a longer period of time and hence have more of a food experience. French people eat all their meals together at the table. They do not eat in front of the television and they certainly don’t give the children a separate meal. Everyone eats the same food together.
 The French cook more than the Americans.
The main difference in grocery stores is that the frozen sections in American stores are much bigger than in France: The market for prepared food is simply not as big in France. Furthermore, TV dinners are a concept mostly unknown to the French culture. The French, in general, tend to put more thought and time into their meals. French people shop on a daily basis and decide what to eat based on what looks good at the market.
 When the French drink, they take their time and they drink wine.
In France, wine and food go together like a baguette and a chunk of brie. In other words, the French drink wine with most meals and actually think of it as “food.”
 French drink a lot of water instead of sodas.
The French are very fond of mineral water (not caloric sodas and smoothies) and one can find many different types in the stores. 
 Read the whole story here on Wine Folly 
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