Friday, November 13, 2015
The French Paradox Exists!
Its just been two months since I was in the southeastern French city and my jealousy was already rising day by day. I was mortified looking at people sitting in cafés all day long and still somehow managing to look like perfect Calvin Klein underwear models. I pondered over this gravely, while deep frying my pooris (Just another extra oily Indian dish). I tried reasoning it out - maybe it’s the weather…or maybe because they walk everywhere…or maybe all that red wine…no wait smoking; it has to be their incessant smoking that kills their appetite. But I knew all these were just jealous thoughts of the fat girl inside me who just wants to eat cookies all day without getting fat!
So I did some research and tried observing the culture a bit more closely to connect the dots. I mean they got to be doing something really right which is making them nail the healthy lifestyle, because lets face it, the French Paradox still exists! I realised that while obesity has significantly increased in France post 2000 (thanks to all the fast food chains and fads coming in which no one can escape apparently), they are significantly lower that other european countries and a lot lower than the big daddy of obesity- The U.S.
The simple answer to the riddle of how a nation of alcohol binging, croissants munching, pastries eating , is that, they eat lesser of everything. And this is because they are served smaller portions of everything. While the rise of fast foods has disrupted the tradition to some extent, the young generation still follows the tradition of smaller lighter meals and, well, munching throughout the day in bits. This was also scientifically proven with some quality research done by CRNS agency in France and researchers from Philadelphia. They found out that mean portion size across Paris establishment was around 277g compare to an average of 346g in Philadhephia (and increase of 25% more approx)
I have always been an advocate of getting adequate nutrition spread well over the entire day, and this research and the paradox just strengthened my philosophy. You need to give your body some rest and not binge on the whole day’s calories at one go. It always makes sense to stop eating before you feel satiated because your stomach takes time to send signals to your brain, and for the brain to receive the signal from the stomach. Spreading out your meal and eating small portion will also help you to spread out your energy requirements, and you’ll feel less tired by the end of the day. Try this for a few days, and you will feel the drastic change in your energy level and your weighing scale soon!