How to eat like the French


How to eat like the French

Although the French diet is high in saturated fats – given their propensity towards butter, cheese and bread – over the years the French population has exhibited relatively low rates of obesity and chronic illness.

Contributor Paula Hagiefremdi explores the French paradox in the June edition of nourish, but here, she gives an insight on how to eat like the French. 

1. Eat for pleasure
For the French, food is often a social activity. Many, if not all, meals are taken sitting at the table with family or friends; and so engaging in sharing a meal becomes an extension of social connectedness. There’s an unhurriedness to dining, and multiple courses are common. As are smaller portion sizes and a leisured eating pace with breaks between bites, which – unsurprisingly – enables the physiological feedback of digestion to signal contentment before you are overfull.

2. Buy good produce
“Handcrafted quality has been at the heart of French gastronomy and culture,” says French-American author Mireille Guiliano of anti-dieting book French Women Don’t Get Fat. “Food shopping is also a vital social occasion – market day is a huge part of French culture. On certain days of the week you’ll see trucks in local squares hauling fresh produce – the best of the season, from meat and game to fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices.” This not only brings a level of respect for what you’re eating, but also how you eat it. French cooking never shies away from flavour, but they also know how to let fresh produce shine – crudités, for example.

3. Don’t avoid fats
One scientific theory
 behind a healthy fat-rich 
diet is that it stimulates the 
production of cholecystokinin – 
a satiety signal that prompts an extended sense of satisfaction even after eating only small amounts of high-fat foods, eliminating the 
need to snack between meals or overeat during meals to compensate a low-fat diet. Food choices – whether it’s a square of chocolate, a loaf of bread or savouring a mouth-watering pastry – can be some of the most important decisions of the French woman’s daily ritual.

Want to know more about this French Paradox? Grab the June 2016 edition of nourish for more.

The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read our Medical Notice.