When (eating) in America, do as the French do

The “French paradox” is something that’s been recognized for a while now – that is, the French eat much more fat than we do, but weigh less and have lower rates of heart disease.  It’s mentioned in the book In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan, which I just read this weekend.  This is one that I may actually buy to keep for myself.  There’s also an excellent post on it today at Get Fit Slowly, http://www.getfitslowly.com/2008/06/06/food-drink-and-decadence-how-the-french-stay-thin/

Part of the advice is to stay out of the center of the grocery store.  The real food is usually located around the perimeter in the refrigerator cases.  Another part is to read labels.  If it has more than 5 ingredients, or any chemicals that you can’t pronounce, or high fructose corn syrup, don’t eat it.

There’s much more to it than that, of course.  I definitely recommend Pollan’s book.  He also wrote another book I enjoyed, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which takes a look at food production, organic farming, and the huge percentage of our food that comes from corn.  Verrrrry interesting.


One response to “When (eating) in America, do as the French do

  1. Hmmm… yes on the corn syrup and sugar -that little hidden ingredient is VERY common in American foods where there is no need for it whatsoever. This becomes a viscious circle. Because people are accustomed and want a slightly sweet taste in everything, the industry keeps adding more sweetener in processed food, and because the industry does, people’s taste buds become more miscalibrated towards sweet and demand more sweet -or things don’t “taste right.”

    Going back to more natural food re-teaches taste buds what food is actually supposed to taste like.

    Going back to the French Paradox I’d like to add that the French have a much different way of life also. Very physically active in the sense of walking everywhere, (or bus, metro, bicycle, etc), meals are sacred and to be enjoyed thoroughly (rather than wolfed down in 30 mn) and usually include family or friends for positive social element and “joy de vivre” (energy), and the glass of quality wine does help break down fats.

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