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Diet Tip: Eat Like the French

Our relationship with our Gallic allies waxes and wanes (remember the Freedom Fries episode), but we Americans could learn a thing or two from the French and their relationship to food.

The adult obesity rate in France is only 11% compared to the U.S. rate of 32%. Well folks at Penn State University and Cornell University decided to turn this statistic into a learning opportunity. Eating slower and savoring your food is a healthier way to eat since it makes less food seem like more and gives the body time to achieve satiation. It also reinforces the well know fact that smaller portions are better, because if there is less on the plate there is less for you to eat.

To read more on the study check out this article on Makes me want to head to the City of Lights right now.

kiroyale kiroyale 10 years
I recommend: "the website for stylish, savvy women who want to dress chic and stay slim" She has written a lot of books on just this subject. (yes, I have the books too - I haven't joined the online program (I had joined South beach online and ended up only using it for the recipe search - it was costly!) but this program looks interesting.
kiroyale kiroyale 10 years
I've been researching and studying the je ne sais quoi of how to eat (France, Italy) and of how not to eat (US, UK) for a book I've been working on and off since 2002. I have read a lot of books on the subject and visited Italy, France and the UK several times (I am American). I still have more to learn!!! Bellatrix - I am "eating up" all of your words - it's so wonderful to read from a firsthand account of a French Woman's regime. Thank you so much! Oh, and it's Gallic, not Gaelic!!!
michou michou 10 years
Just to clear it up, Gaelic refers to people of Ireland and Scotland. I think the term they were looking for was "Gallic" which refers to the tribe of people in France during the Roman Era. Hey, I knew reading would get me somewhere!
1missy 1missy 10 years
this makes sense it takes 13 min for your body to realize that you have eaten.
Bellatrix2 Bellatrix2 10 years
In France, we are very alarmed with that percentage. It means we're starting to take the same road as the Americans... We fight daily against obesity. School lunches are changing. Some schools switched to the slow food prepation method. Others opted for biological food and all this without raising the cost of the meals... I eat slowly (I take over half an hour to finish my plate which usually contains : 150 grams of low fat meat -white meat or 5% fat beef for example-, 250 grams of vegetables and a 0% fat yoghurt for extra proteins, once a day some bread or pasta or rice)...
jianna jianna 10 years
I'd love to go to restaraunts and get less food. I hate going to applebees, ordering some pasta, and recieving an entire MOUNTAIN of it. I never eat it all, but it always feels like such a waste. I'm glad TGI Fridays has started offering smaller (and cheaper!) portions.
Advah Advah 10 years
I agree with the small portion things. Also, you're supposed to feel full after 20 mins of chewing food (something about a chemical reaction in the stomach, totally forgot the details).
Princess-Rebecca Princess-Rebecca 10 years
hat's not only so in France, you can count most of Europe eating small porportions and slower... I don't know whether it would work for ma as I already eat less and very slow. No, I am not anorectic but as a baby and kid food scared and I never really learned to eat large porpotions (which are probabaly the smalls ones in the US)
Kate-Marie Kate-Marie 10 years
Eating slower and having smaller portions really do make a difference if you're aiming to lose weight. Plus, you don't end up feeling full and stuffed after a meal.
SweetMagicFairy SweetMagicFairy 10 years
i bought a book once about why french women dont get fat! read the book but never really tried it!
N-e-e-c-a-l-l-e N-e-e-c-a-l-l-e 10 years
Seriously the whole freedom fries thing was actually the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of. It still makes me laugh. Im actually chuckeling out loud as I write this.
Feesje Feesje 10 years
Has nothing to do with the content of this post, but I would just like to say that 'French fries' were not invented in France. They were invented in the French-speaking part of Belgium. We Belgians are very proud of our fries, so I just wanted to set this straight. :)
The-Italian-Jem The-Italian-Jem 10 years
Gaelic refers to the Irish and Scots, not the French! Oops!
moonlite moonlite 10 years
Portion control is amazing. Not only did I lose weight, I felt better in general because I wasn't stuffing myself all the time.
Chickonspeed Chickonspeed 10 years
I won't go at long on this but my proper opinion (I'm French) is that it is a big bunch of clichés ! Like in all other industrialized countries, Frenchwomen are under pressure to remain thin...there is thus a lot of cognitive restriction going on while choosing/eating food. Believe me, girls in primary school are already afraid of getting fat : and it reveals a lot on the state of our civilization. Besides, a lot of multinationals ( in the cosmetics, food, industries...) use women anxiety to make money out of it. Because, yeah, they "are worthing it". And, like in the US, there are fat people, but I do think that obesity (in wealthy countries) is much more triggered by yo-yo dieting, stress, and eating disorders than from misconceptions on nutrition. For more info on science and obesity, see : For more info on dieting AND fattening (in French), see : ( association of French Md's working on psychology and nutrition) On the whole, eating should be a way to connect to our inner selves ("mindful eating") and the more we try to follow outer norms (labelled as "healthy"), the more we are about to disconnect eating and hungriness...leading to EDs. Just my 2 cents ! ;-)
sweetheart_450 sweetheart_450 10 years
The French are on to something. I started eating like this last year, and it definately works.
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