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The French Diet

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 10/7/2010

The French diet is not an actual diet plan but rather than principles to why and how French people can stay slimmer than most, while eating rich foods and drinking alcohol. Though it seems like a mysterious French paradox, there are several reasons why this can be true.

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    The so-called French diet, which is interwoven with the French paradox, holds true that the average French person eats rich foods, drinks plenty of alcohol and smokes cigarettes. Then again, the average French person is much healthier and oftentimes slimmer than those in other countries. The world wants to know how this is possible.

    It primarily boils down to how the French view food. The French perspective is that each meal should be a event and that every meal should be savored over a period of several hours. For this reason, the French diet consists of setting aside a time and a place for food in order to eat it slowly and enjoy it.

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    Smaller Portion Sizes

    A main aspect of the French diet is smaller portion sizes. While French food is decadent in and of itself, the French enjoy their food in such smaller portions that it all balances out. They also take their time with each and every bite, which allows the body to realize it is full before the process of overeating has already taken place. This is a primary downfall in many Americans' eating habits. We oftentimes eat so fast that we don't know are bodies are already full. Because of this, we end up consuming far more food and calories than we really need.

    For the French, since each meal is viewed as important and is to be eaten on the dining room table, it gives families time to talk about their daily life and perhaps slow down the current on-the-go lifestyle.

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    Exercise and Fresh Foods

    Other aspects of the French diet include incorporating exercise into everyday life, by doing things such as avoiding elevators and getting up for a walk. They tend to drive less and walk more, whereas others may have a more sedentary lifestyle.

    The French diet also consists of enjoying fresh foods more often than frozen and processed foods. Fresh foods are more nutrient-rich and healthy. The French culture would never permit the serving of frozen foods. All in all, the French paradox is easy to understand. All of us can enjoy rich foods like the French, as long as we eat smaller portions, incorporate exercise into our daily lives, and take time to savor food, we can expect to shed some pounds and stay healthy.