Remember a few years ago when that study came out that a glass of red wine every day was healthy? Remember when everyone thought they had suddenly solved the riddle about why French people eat so well and are so fit? That was bogus. Even if a glass of red wine every day is good for you, the answer isn’t that simple. But it isn’t a mystery, either.

Let’s face it; the French appreciate food, especially food that doesn’t seem so healthy. While it seems like this appreciation would make the French fatter, I think it really makes them thinner. Consider an American meal. We heat something up (or just go to the closest fast food joint), shovel it onto our plates, and then shovel it into our mouths before we know whether we’re full yet.

The French take their time preparing their food and they take their time eating it. They savor every bite. Guess what happens when you savor every bite. You realize that you’re full before you’ve stuffed yourself. The French eat smaller, more enjoyed portions. Similarly the Japanese diet also embraces the same issue.

The French also eat more of their food earlier in the day. One study showed that the French consumed as much as 60% of the calories for the day in two meals within the first six hours of the day. They snack less and eat smaller dinners than Americans do. They don’t go to bed with a belly full of food every night after pigging out in front of the TV for a few hours. They’ve already burned off most of the calories they consumed for the day.

Maybe the French have it right. Maybe it’s not about what you eat; maybe it’s about how you eat it. The French break every rule of American dieting. Rich cream sauces, red meat, lots of carbs, chocolate, and wine are everyday staples in a French diet. They’re obsessed with good food, not with the perfectly calibrated diet that could drive anyone crazy. They eat what they like in moderation. Maybe having a healthy relationship with food is actually the secret to losing weight and being healthier. Or maybe I am just trying to find excuse to gobble up this cake :)

11 comments:

  1. Janet said...

    Great post... "it's not what you eat, but how you eat it"... loved that! And so true!

  2. Cain said...

    In essence I agree with the article, however I remember hearing not so long ago that the French obsession with Red wine was infact harming them according to the most recent research. Then again everything is harmfull according to researchers at some point!

  3. Wayne said...

    I always see the French as having a much more relaxed approach to life in general anyway so it doesn't surprise me that their attitude towards food and eating it seems much better than many societies who basically try to eat as fast as they can and eat the wrong type of foods.

  4. Debbie said...

    France is the only other place I would like to live. Their attitude to most things is so laid back and especially so with regards to food.
    They certainly know how to enjoy their food which I think has been lost in most places.

  5. Intancen said...

    I heard of a French food called Escargot, I wonder whether eating snails is a part of the French secret.

  6. scottalk said...

    Excellent points, I never knew this to be true about the French.

  7. Mike said...

    The part about taking time and slowing down when you're eating is what I need to learn.

  8. timmie said...

    I tend to think it's a little of both - what you eat AND how you eat it. In other words, the French are known for creating food that one would WANT to savor, so they do. Who among us average Americans actually savors a McD's burger? We don't. It's simple food with no complexity of flavor, that if you gulp it down quickly, you haven't missed anything.

  9. Cherry said...

    Thanks for the comments folks. The French is extremely picky when it comes to food (well, the older generation is). They savor every bite and take time to enjoy the food. They also use sensible portion control too. In an essence, we can learn from both the Japanese and the French in the way we eat our meals.

  10. Jesieblogjourney said...

    Cherry
    You made a great point. Some of us including me like to eat and end up with a full belly of food that cause indigestion.

    Yes, eating smaller portions is the key. It makes so much sense and yet sometimes we find it so hard to do.

  11. Health Freak Mommy said...

    What works best for me is not so much of what i eat (though i am still a follower of a low carb high protein diet) but rather HOW i eat and WHEN i eat them.
    I still eat almost anything that my heart desires from cakes to pastries but in reduced portion and try to eat them tog with a protein food (to slow down the release of insulin).
    I also eat high carb food as early as possible, normally for my breakfast and gradually reduce my food intake as the day progresses to night. Dinner shd be the lightest meal ever.



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