Health & Fitness ~ The French Paradox

Ahh… the French diet, famed for its patisserie, chocolate (french spelling!), bread, wine, cheese (oohhh the cheese!)…. a diet so seemingly high in all the bad food groups has a nation with a life expectancy 2.5 years higher than the UK, fewer instances of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Known universally as the French Paradox, the French seem to be able to have their cake and eat it, but why is this? They aren’t known for their long gym sessions (I’ve only ever seen 1 gym in a town compared with our numerous franchises), nor have I ever seen anyone out jogging (I’m looked at like a lunatic when I go out…albeit sporadically!), and yet, the statistics don’t lie….nor do the middle aged women still rocking mini skirts at the Supermarche!

It’s believed that one of the reasons for this is the time they take over their meals. You won’t find many people working over lunch in France, often eating three courses over 2 hours, compared with the Brits who are more likely to grab a sandwich and eat at their desk; if you don’t think you’d be able to take a 2 hour lunch break at work (or if management wouldn’t like it!), why not embrace the leisurely lunch at the weekend- but switch off the electronic distractions. Mindless eating also contributes to our expanding waistlines commpared with our Galic counterparts.

Another reason for their healthy bodies, and seemingly unhealthy diet (I prefer to call it delicious) is their snacking habits, or lack there of. Compared with other countries the French don’t snack in between meals; it’s our snacking that can see us eating on average an extra 500 calories per day, which over the course of 7 days could equal a gain in weight of 1lb.

So, why not embrace the French Paradox, and modify your eating habits in time for your holiday?