Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Why French Women Really Aren't Fat...

I had to share the scoop on this study recently released in the journal, Obesity. If you've ever travelled to France, you've surely encountered the mind-boggling "French paradox" -- why the French are able to indulge in butter-flaked croissants, cream-of-the-crop cheeses, to-die-for crusty bread, wine....and then a little more cheese, bread, wine and dessert without looking like the Eiffel Tower.
Clearly the French are on to something -- that or there's a secret the entire country's not sharing. The food-loving French have lower levels of obesity and lower levels of heart disease than Americans. What?! The secret's no big secret. Researchers from Cornell University who led the study found that the French understand satiety cues and stop eating when they're full. They've successfully tapped into internal signals about how the food tastes and when they're no longer hungry...and then they put the fork down. Americans in the study however, used external cues to know when to stop eating and were influenced by their environment, like watching tv when eating or stopping when their plate is clean and there's not a lick left. Those who were significantly more overweight relied primarily on environmental signals to stop eating. 6.7 percent of French subjects were overweight or obese while 24.3 percent of American subjects were.
Take home message: turn the tv off, take a moment to taste and enjoy what's on your plate, stop eating sooner, and then hop a cheap flight to Paris (ok, so the 'cheap' part's not so realistic these days, but you know what I mean).
And by the way, French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano actually is one of my fave books, an adorable, speedy read that really will make you want to hop that plane to Paris!

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