The French eat cheese, drink wine, and essentially live only to eat. Yet, their body type remains slim and slender. And this perplexing mystery remains the French Paradox. Many have wondered why is it so?
France, the capital of wine and the hub of gourmet’s delight has the entire world craving. Resisting the fondues, steak frites, foie gras, and more than two hundred types of cheese is mission impossible! On the backdrop of such a rich food heritage and abundance of cooking styles we can now understand the ignorant remark that sparked a revolution, ‘Let them eat cake!’. The French food and wine have been the icon for the country for quite some time.
What is French Paradox?
Ever wondered why the French rarely suffer from heart diseases, despite consuming copious amounts of alcohol and saturated fat? In 1991, it was stated that red wine reduces the possibilities of heart diseases. This increased the wine consumption by 44%. The breweries wanted to label their wines as ‘health food’, but health experts are still validating the gravity of its health benefits. These questions and the controversy gave rise to what was known as the ‘French Paradox’.
If it was only about drinking wine to avoid cardiovascular diseases then won’t heart patients be ‘wine-o-holics’! And since this is not the case, let’s take a tour of French kitchens and dining tables to know what makes them the fitter than many!
Le Petit Déjeuner
Le Petit Déjeuner or the breakfast consists of coffee, milk, French bread, jam, or croissants. The French eat their breakfast like king, lunch like the prince and dine like the pauper! Point to be noted, the French spread their meals and eat in small quantities.
Le Déjeuner is the mid-meal. Stretched over one hour, the lunch includes four courses. This is usually the biggest meal, both in terms of quantity of food and time. It begins with appetizers, followed by the main course and lastly the dessert. The French love to sip on wine while eating. Point to be remembered is eating slowly.
Le diner or the last meal of the day. Again it begins with starters or salad, followed by the main course and ends with the dessert. The size of each portion is the highlight. Eaten in small quantities, the meal is stretched over an hour, just like lunch. Thus the pointed to be noted, the French eat in small quantities and they eat slowly.
Interestingly, the French eat lot of fats. But their fat intake is healthy and it is derived from vegetables, dairy products, whole milk, and yogurt. They eat fish more than red meat, which is easier to digest. Another factor for this awesome French paradox is, climate. The climate plays a vital role in determining your level of physical activity. The conducive Mediterranean climate, encourages outdoor activities and hence is a boon to their slender and slim body types.
In the above meal description, you must have observed that there isn’t a mention of any junk food items. That’s true! The French do not eat anything between the meals and additionally abstain from consuming unhealthy food items like soda and fried foods.
The obvious question at this point is, whether eating in small quantities satisfies the hunger? YES! Having a heavy meal in one go is taxing the stomach with extra activity. This causes retardation in physical activity and gives a way for lethargy to set in. Thus eating in small quantities is advised for those vying for a healthy lifestyle. Knowing what you eat is essential for a healthy life. More than critically analyzing your weight, analyze the food you eat. C’est la vie, mes amis!