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February 25, 2006

French Notes

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Tyler Cowen and commenters recommend the Best of Paris. Time to book a table at Pierre Gagnaire.

* Here's yet more on the French Paradox -- ie., how do they eat such rich food yet stay so slim? The key facts: The French eat smaller amounts than we do while making a bigger deal out of eating-rituals. Portion control plays a major role in the equation. Nearly every serving of every food-substance is larger in America than it is in Paris, and sometimes remarkably larger: "A supermarket soft drink in the US was 52 per cent larger, a hotdog 63 per cent larger, a carton of yoghurt 82 per cent larger." A croissant in America is likely to be twice the size of a French croissant. Plus, the French are vain, and they hardly ever snack.



posted by Michael at February 25, 2006


". . . the French Paradox -- ie., how do they eat such rich food yet stay so slim?"

I guess they aren't staying so slim anymore:

"Nearly half the French population is now overweight or obese. French politicians are calling it a national epidemic."

From the ABC News report French Women Get Fat? Obesity Is No Longer Just an Ugly American Problem

Posted by: Dave Lull on February 25, 2006 3:42 PM

Probably too much McDonald's and Wendy's.

Go see "Supersize Me" if you want a truly sobering view of our portion problem in the U.S.!

Did you know that in the latest version of the "Joy of Cooking" cookbook says that the brownie recipe makes 16 brownies? In 1971, the exact same amount of brownie batter made 32 brownies! Portions have doubled! Muffins are 3 times their original size, convenience stores sell 64-ounce drinks, everything is bigger, bigger, and we've been desensitized to portion control. Maybe Europeans have too.

Posted by: annette on February 26, 2006 10:38 AM

What the health-minded person in NY is left to do? The only reasonable-sounding option is to have $100 prix fixe dinner in French restaurant, where art of positioning .0025lb of goose liver souffle among 2 lettuce buds and 1.5 drops of Bearnese(sp?) Sauce is alive and well...

Posted by: Tat on February 26, 2006 12:20 PM

It's true about the not-snacking thing - there isn't even a word for "snacking" in French.

[Okay, I made that up, but they really don't snack. It's very annoying.]

Posted by: jenny on February 26, 2006 12:45 PM

I've contended for years that gals who live and work in large, pedestrian-oriented cities (New York, Paris) tend to be slimmer than elsewhere and often have nice-looking legs. I say walking is what does it.

Posted by: Donald Pittenger on February 26, 2006 7:39 PM

annette, do you know that around the time Supersize Me came out, a woman made her own McDonalds documentary where she actually lost weight eating at McDonalds?

Posted by: lindenen on February 26, 2006 8:45 PM

Yes, I think I saw her. But she didn't lose it eating quarterpounders. She lost it eating their salads. Well, forgive me, but McDonald's isn't "McDonald's" for their salads!! And a significantly greater number of people gain weight, not lose it, eating at McDonald's.

I agree with Donald. Living in Chicago, more a walking city, it was much easier to just naturally sustain my weight, than, for instance, in Dallas, a car city.

Posted by: annette on February 27, 2006 9:57 AM

Fact 1: eating quarterpound burgers and greesy fries at Mc.Donalds makes you fat.
Fact 2: eating salads at Mc.Donalds doesn't.

Q: How many years of education (alternative Q: how many years of erasing effects of educational brainwashing?) an average-IQ person needs to connect F1 and F2 and conclude that it depends on a person who's selecting the food (s)he eats and not Mc.Donalds, for that person's weight problems?

Posted by: Tatyana on February 27, 2006 11:14 AM

A part of French diet, utterly and uniquely French.

Posted by: Tatyana on February 27, 2006 2:54 PM

McDonald's salads are NOT low-calorie when you add all the dressing.

Posted by: Peter on February 28, 2006 12:27 AM

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