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Wait I still don't understand the french paradox!

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  • Wait I still don't understand the french paradox!

    Just was doing a lot of research and I still don't think anyone has made a legitimate case about the French Paradox. Yes, they eat a lot more fat, their portions are smaller and they walk a lot, but they EAT CARBS! I lived in paris and milan for a while and everyone was eating toast with jam/small pasteries for breakfast, lunch in france was usually some animal protein with another small piece of bread and wine, and dinner was usually the same thing. Milan was a different story, every day I would go to lunch at their restaurant that served three courses and everyone ate it all! It was salad to start, small portion of pasta and then some animal protein as their main. Again wine was consumed. I guarantee they are healthier and leaner than we are, and are not chugging down protein shakes and cutting out carbs at every meal. They enjoy and pretty much eat what they want!

    I also want to note that I have had a history of digestive issues and when I went to Paris for a week vacation last year my stomach issues disappeared- quality is alot different over there but I was also eating a lot more variety over there whereas in the states I really restrict myself.

  • #2
    The small portions may have something to do with it. Also the bread and pasta they have over there may not be made with hydrogenated soy or seed oils like it is in North America.
    You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!


    • #3
      There's no real paradox. They tend not to snack between meals, move a lot more, eat fattier food which promotes better satiety, have a better relationship with food and don't eat as much highly processed junk and sugary sodas.


      • #4
        They don't eat the giant portions we do. A french pastry is very small compared to American baked goods. America is fat largely due to portions. Also, french pastry is not as sweet- it is fatty as all get out.... but not sugary sweet.
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        • #5
          Hmmm ... Je dois me prendre un peu de cette petite, de la pātisserie gras.

          (Google translate isn't the best, but here's what I plugged in to it: Hmmm...I must get me some of this tiny, fatty pastry.) lol
          Ramblings of an Unamused Mouse (Lots of Food Porn, Too!)


          • #6
            As said above small portions. Those pastries are not low fat high sugar that you see here they are full of yummy fat so a little goes a long long way. Plus as you noted the food is very tasty so enjoy.

            You have started a lot of similar threads, this is not a diet but a lifestyle change. It is not low carb it is about avoiding poisons especially in processed foods. Vegetable oils and wheat can be very problematic for almost everyone. Especially when you look at processed cakes and other "foods" that are full of sugar and low in fat in North America. If you are going to eat dessert make it rich, buttery and full of goodness...not a low fat high sugar tasteless concoction.
            Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
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            • #7
              They also don't eat all the processed foods and fast foods we eat. I was amazed, after a trip to Paris, Nice, and Monaco, that it was hard to find a fast food place. There just isn't a cluster of FF places on every corner. Their pastries are freshly made, and yes, the portions are much smaller. And everyone walks everywhere.

              In Italy last summer, we made it a point to eat gelato and pasta every single day, at different places. But because the portions were normal-sized and we walked everywhere, my pants were looser at the end of the trip. They simply don't serve the huge hunking platters. And the food tastes much richer, so you simply are satisfied with less. Tons of real butter, nice fatty meats & fish. Yum. And the little coffee shops are everywhere, but no one sits down. You walk to the espresso bar, order your drink, it comes in a tiny espresso cup, you sip sip sip, then move on. You simply don't plop down with your laptop for 2 hours with your mega frappuccino.
              Truly Paleo since 1/1/2012 (Doing Leptin reset)
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              • #8
                they eat less and move more, and it's not processed. i know, you're not supposed to say eat less and move more. i said it.


                • #9
                  One of the main points of the French Paradox has to do with butter. They eat 3 times more butter than the average person in the US but they have a much lower incidence of heart disease. Americans tend to eat more margine and fake "butter" of which the French would never lay their hands on. Also, they tend to smoke more and drink more (wine) casually/socially than the US. Even if you don't smoke in France you are getting it second hand as you can smoke pretty much everywhere in Europe. One huge factor is that they enjoy their leisure time much more than the average American. On average the French have much shorter work days with a long lunch (some say they do 2 hour lunches) and have much more vacation time a year. So their stress level is much lower. They are not constantly wired up for work like Americans are on the average. So in summary, they eat much more butter and saturated fat, smoke and drink more, but they relax and have much more downtime than the average American. It just shows how much stress plays in your overall health.
                  "If man made it, don't eat it" - Jack Lallane

                  People say I am on a "crazy" diet. What is so crazy about eating veggies, fruits, seafood and organ meats? Just because I don't eat whole wheat and processed food doesn't make my diet "crazy". Maybe everyone else with a SAD are the "crazy" ones for putting that junk in their system.


                  • #10
                    Their meat isn't raised in industrial feedlots. Therefore, it is not corn fed, is not full of antibiotics, growth hormones, and God only knows what other additives. This is to expand on the above comments about the small number of fast food restaurants, which have a symbiotic relationship with the industrial feedlot system.

                    Perhaps just as important, they don't drink sugary, carbonated sodas 24/7. The typical American grabs a corn dog and 70 oz coke from his gas station food mart and eats it while he's driving.

                    The lesson is that eating "paleo" isn't just about avoiding grains.


                    • #11
                      The French Paradox is only a paradox if you are assuming that:

                      - The human metabolism is a bomb calorimeter built in a laboratory.
                      - Food, especially from animals raised in industrial conditions, has exactly the same nutritional content as food raised in a more natural setting (it doesn't matter where the food comes from).
                      - 1 oz. of corn oil = 1 oz. of extra virgin olive oil.
                      - Spending 40 minutes running in a hamster wheel with some musclebound sociopath screaming at you in between meetings is as beneficial as 40 minutes spent playing tag with your kids.
                      - 6 oz. of orange soda is nutritionally equal to 1 orange (90 calories) and gets fortified with vitamins, so why bother eating the orange.
                      - Obesity, diabetes, and heart attacks in the U.S. are a direct result of some epic moral catastrophe in its society (gluttony, sloth). The French are better people with higher morals and this magically protects them from disease, and also rape goblins.

                      ETA: Hey, isn't it true that in France, high-fructose-corn-syrup production/consumption is limited by some kinda commie marxist socialist plot, or something? Don't they have like all kinds of job-killing food regulations out there?
                      Last edited by Spubba; 04-08-2012, 11:22 AM. Reason: EVIL GOVERNMENT OVERLORDS ARE TAKIN UR SODAS AN MAKIN U EAT BROCCOLI


                      • #12
                        Wait a minute, you ate in French restaurants. The French eat at home. What you get in a restaurant is not necessarily equivalent to what people eat at home. Besides, I think the French paradox was not about the bread but about the saturated fat and wine.
                        Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
                          Wait a minute, you ate in French restaurants. The French eat at home. What you get in a restaurant is not necessarily equivalent to what people eat at home. Besides, I think the French paradox was not about the bread but about the saturated fat and wine.
                          Exactly what I was going to say.

                          You saw what they ate when they ate out.

                          I'm sure every French person doesn't eat out for EVERY meal, EVERY day.

                          So if they're only getting one pastry a day, or eating a dinner out... big whoopie.

                          It's not 24/7 for sure.


                          • #14
                            The French Paradox was that they had low rates of heart disease despite eating a high fat diet and smoking a lot. It was a documentary at the time which suggested it was the wine, but evidence does not back this up. Other countries with high wine intake do not see similar reductions in heart disease.

                            I agree with the suggestions so far - less processed food, more traditional farming methods, less sugar in the diet, more walking and lower stress levels. You definitely notice that they are slimmer. Interestingly, my French aunt told me that they get their meat mince from the butcher and watch him mince it in front of them (this was in response to the article on pink slime). They're not too scared to eat unpasteurised cheese either (yum).

                            They also have free comprehensive health care.

                            Of course, the body isn't a paradox, it's just that one of our pieces of information is incorrect. I would guess that the high saturated fat=heart disease is the inaccurate part of the 'paradox'.
                            Last edited by jo; 04-08-2012, 01:15 PM.
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                            • #15
                              From my own limited travels in France, they take the time to enjoy their food, and a meal is a social event, not something to be done while watching TV (or God forbid the working lunch!). Google the Slow Food Movement if you haven't heard of it, it ties in nicely with the idea of satiety.

                              They do like their meat though!