Want To Know Why French People Don’t Get Fat?


Why Don’t French People Get Fat?

Video Transcript

Salut YouTube in today’s video I am gonna do my best to share everything I know and explain why, in the land of cheese and butter and cream and croissants French people are able to stay so slim and the statistics don’t lie France does have the lowest obesity rate of 35 OECD countries only 10% of them are obese They don’t diet you don’t often see them running around the gym five times a week So how do they do it? It’s just not fair right?! And I’ve heard some people say “Oh, it’s the genetics!” Guys think about it This doesn’t make sense France is almost in the center of Europe Imagine the millions of people that have passed through this land over the last thousands of thousands of years Their genetics have no greater superpowers than the Italians do or the Brits do or the Spanish do plus this argument is null and void because the obesity rates and the average weight of the average French person has been steadily increasing over time with the introduction of globalized diet and influences from other parts of the Western world meaning that it was actually what they’re eating and very importantly how they were eating that makes the big difference. So let me share with you six lessons when it comes to food from the French that allow them to stay in shape with very little additional effort Lesson number one is that the French take their time to eat So we’ve all heard about the famous one, two-hour lunch breaks in France and this is NOT a myth So even in Paris even in the corporate working world we break for one hour at lunchtime And we sit down at the table and eat our lunch And it takes that long because the French will break their meal down into components so a traditional meal would be your entree, the main the cheese course and then dessert for us in the corporate world at lunchtime we usually just have an entrée and a main or a main and a dessert But the principle still there of breaking your meal down into courses, so this helps to maintain a healthy weight for two main reasons So the first is you’re at the table you’re eating with all five senses You know you’re not distracted still working on your computer screen or watching TV in the evening You’re present with your food if you can imagine you start on your first course You know you have the time you’re not rushed You chew more slowly And you actually savor what you’re eating rather than just quickly inhaling a sandwich for example at the desk So you can learn when you’re doing all of these things your brain has the time to register that you’ve actually eaten So scientists saying that it actually takes the brain 20 minutes to figure out that you’ve eaten, and so when you eat quickly your stomach is full, but your mind is still hungry And this is why we just keep eating beyond what we actually need In France because you’ve got the time to go course-by-course You can actually take a moment between courses when you’re shifting your plates so you’ve finished your entree and you’re starting on your main and it’s a very different relationship with your main because you’ve had the time to figure out how hungry you still are how much room you have left and then you make a decision to continue so even though you feel like you’re having two three even four courses sometimes things are so spread out and the portion sizes are smaller anyway by default that you actually end up eating less than you would if you had one big plate of food And you’re quickly trying to shovel everything down as fast as humanly possible Lesson number two is that the French eat a lot of everything but don’t eat too much of anything What do I mean by that? Well France is not a country of deprivation and when it comes to your diet the sauces are creamy their duck is cooked in butter everything is the real deal you’ll find it really hard to find low-fat, sugar-free fat-free products like we have in New Zealand America UK for example But why isn’t that really unhealthy? Well not really because usually these products are more highly processed and they’re more difficult for our bodies to digest because they’re less natural What the French do is they take the real full products, but they all just eat a little bit of everything There’s a lot of variety in the diet so at lunchtime for example It’d be completely normal that I have a full chicken breast some rice and some vegetables and then for a dessert you might have some yogurt or a fruit or even a cake But my point here really is that you have a full meal a lot of fruit and veg actually and a lot of flavors on your plate you know the French woman around me don’t cut entire food groups out of their diet like carbs for example like we do French women eat their carbs! I think because they eat everything in moderation they don’t get these insane cravings and they don’t binge on things French people eat a lot of everything They eat in-season products They don’t eat processed foods in general And they avoid it genetically modified things like the plague and you often hear French women saying things like “je fais juste attention” which means I’m just paying a little bit of attention so they’re never on these big crash diets They’re not doing the Atkins diet They’re not doing like whatever the big trend diet is at the moment What that means is that they still continue to eat a little bit of everything but maybe a smaller portion size and they’ll always just take a piece of fruit or a yogurt instead of taking something Super-sweet for example Lesson number three from the French is that food education is as important as maths It’s as important as spelling It is a subject in and of itself French people are educated about healthy food and eating habits from the moment they can eat them not like us at 23 years old googling away like which foods have high sugar content. That’s a little bit too little too late don’t you think? And they say that the diet you have in your early years Impacts your relationship with food for your whole life, so let’s move on to the French crèche or kindergarten because this is just kind of insane every day these little French children 2, 3, 4 years old will sit down for lunch for 1 hour at the table And they will eat their four-course meal which has been provided by a chef with organic ingredients The huge variety of food the menus are changing week after week. They have strong flavors their blue cheese their shrimps They really get the kids to eat a lot of diverse products This is at no additional cost this is highly highly subsidized by the state The crèches and kindergardens in France are very very cheap, and it’s all inclusive. This is educating their future citizen about something that they’re going to need to do every single day which is to eat in a healthy and balanced way. You actually see these small children and they learn to do things like serve each other first before they start eating to drink water to eat in a slow and healthy and civilized way. They’re using their metal knives and forks for example No plastic cutlery up in here! Lunch is really seen as a class that lasts a full hour I actually have an example menu in front of me and some of the main courses are like lamb skewers on couscous codfish and a dill sauce and for the dessert it’s the choice between a caramel or vanilla flan – like these kids are three or four years old! My French boyfriend for example never had fizzy drink growing up in his whole life. He’s eaten at McDonald’s maximum a handful of times. I think it sounds kind of mean to a culture like us like all these poor kids never getting these treats but that’s just normality for them, so they don’t view it as mean or restrictive. That’s just normal. Lesson number four is around eating at consistent hours and privileging eating at home. So I’ve mentioned this already in one of my culture shock videos but I was really shocked when I came here And how strict the schedule is when it comes to eating you eat three meals a day, and if you have a snack that’s a goûter and it’s something that you have maybe around 4 to 5 p.m. But that’s it so thanks to this routine you really know your body like clockwork, and so you find that the French never let themselves get too hungry which means of course I never let themselves get too stuffed because they don’t wait till they’re absolutely starving to eat and because as well they eat proper meals like sit down for a real, filling lunch and a proper dinner I’m not snacking away in the afternoon, and you’re not snacking in the evenings either You don’t get those cravings for ice cream or biscuits or anything at 9/10 p.m. And in France they stay largely in control of when they eat in the evenings for example because they’re really privileging eating at home. I’ve found a lot of French people do, they think that dining at home hosting at home having friends around in the home is just as sexy as eating out. A recent study by the committee for health education here in France found that eating is still very closely linked to the national heritage here of consuming good food for pleasure in France 76 percent of meals are prepared at home and the favorite place to eat both lunch and dinner is in the family home with 75 percent saying that they ate at the family table Lesson number 5 from the French is that they just know when to stop. I think the secret here is really around the courses and that you break the meal down so you have that moment to stop and think am I still hungry? How much more do I want? And I’ve also noticed that when you’ve got a bowl of salad on the table for example You always just take a little portion each, but there’s always some left and the bowl so you’ll eat and then you’ll finish your share, and then you’ll have a moment to think hmm Do I want more? And then if it’s yes Then you take more so you don’t serve everything that’s on the table on the plate straight away You don’t fill up your plate completely you just take a little bit of everything finish that and then we’ll go for round 2 if You feel like it, but there’s also something here, not just around auto-regulation but around peer regulation as well because I have friends and my boyfriend sometimes will comment on how much I’ve taken and they’re not trying to be mean or shame me, but they’re like oh that’s a lot and that actually seems to be culturally acceptable, but you do sometimes hear those comments from colleagues like oh I couldn’t eat that much. Oh you must be hungry or oh, that’s very sugary be careful don’t eat too much of that. Although I’m trying not to take it as a shaming thing I’m kind of like this isn’t any of your business what I’m eating, but yeah, it’s just anyway it’s something that I’ve noticed over here Lesson number six isn’t so much about the food but it’s about drinking so the stereotype about France is that they’re drinking wine at lunch time at dinner time When actually yeah, they may enjoy a glass of wine at dinner time for example but they don’t care for hard liquor, and they’re never out to drink too much, to get drunk and absolutely trolleyed, okay young people aside And I do have some French girlfriends that are living in the UK, and they’re hor-rif-ied with the amount of drinking that gets done in the UK especially at University a lot of them say like okay I might drink a lot But never to the extent where I would get drunk and fall over and vomit I think they think it’s probably quite vulgar to end up in such a drunken mess and my point is that alcohol has a lot of carbs in it and drinking is very closely linked to weight gain and yeah They just don’t have the same kind of approach to alcohol either here in France so those are kind of the main principles that I wanted to cover with you guys today the six lessons that I’ve learnt from the French I’m almost expecting quite a few people to comment on the fact that French people tend to be skinnier in Paris than in the regions And I think that is quite true to an extent there’s usually a wealthier portion of the country living in the big city So you’ll get those young wealthy Parisians who have interests in yoga and fitness blogs and health in general you’re also super active around Paris. You’re walking everywhere you’re walk five to ten kilometers a day just going through the metro system and yeah, Paris is kind of a stressful lifestyle and you’ve got to remember that stress can sometimes burn calories for certain people as well. One topic I haven’t touched on here is the smoking because I know the French smoke a lot, and I know that smoking is an appetite suppressant But I honestly think that such a tiny tiny piece of the puzzle And if you think about it is every single smoker that you know slim? not sure And I really think it’s around the attitude around foods and mindset and the approach to eating in France which is kind of the secret and let me know what kind of topics below that you’d like to learn about or know more about I’m happy to do research to investigate and to give my opinion on The French, life in France and all of that crazy stuff and until next time guys – à bientôt !

French Don’t Get Fat Easily