For years, scientists on both sides of the Atlantic have been trying to unravel the "French paradox" – the finding that despite a high-fat diet, the French appear to have a lower rate of heart attacks (as well as a lower rate of obesity) than other Western countries, particularly the United States. One major reason: nutrition researchers now feel that sugar, flour and oxidized vegetable oil (such as soybean oil used for deep-frying) are the major drivers of obesity and heart disease. Natural saturated fat – such as the kind found in grass-fed meats and natural cheeses – appears to have little to no effect on heart disease risk.
There may also be other reasons for this paradox. These eight tactics are the norm in the typical French diet – consider changing your approach and attitude toward eating by adopting these strategies and see if it makes a difference in your life:
- Eat smaller portions.
- Avoid snacking and eat only at mealtimes.
- Eat a wide variety of food.
- Don’t skip meals.
- Enjoy your food and focus on dishes made from fresh, locally grown, quality ingredients.
- Stick to your internal cues. When you no longer feel hungry, stop eating.
- Eat less sugar. The French eat less than half as much added sugar as do Americans.
- Eat meals with family and friends so that eating becomes a pleasurable experience as opposed to something to "fit into" a schedule or feel guilty about.
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