Oui! Oui! How do all those French people consume all that butter, those creamy sauces, and simple carbs and still not gain weight?
Scientists and nutritionists call this unanswered enigma, "The French Paradox". Simply, no one, has been able to understand how the French manage to frequently eat multi-course meals rife with calorie-laden foods over a period of several hours with wine accompanying each course, of course, and still remain slender.
Wine, beer, creamy entrees, BREAD! However, do the French eat these foods and remain, well, thin?
What is the magic, the mystery, that enables them to do this?
...especially when they wrap nearly everything "en croute" ...IN PASTRY! MADE WITH BUTTER!
Varying aspects of this comestible conundrum have been studied. Is it the wine they consume with their banquets?
Some have postulated that French people consume as much as three bottles of wine a day per person! However, this is a fallacy. Most do not. On average, a French person may drink two to four glasses a day, slightly more than Americans, on average.
Wine simply adds calories and alcohol. We don't see many diet books touting, "drink wine, lose weight"! A reasonable person - me - would conclude that wine is not the answer to why French folk are more svelte than Americans.
It has been suggested that it might be because they eat communally?
Most people, Americans included, do eat some or most of their meals communally i.e. with friends and family. And why would that make a difference?
It doesn't. Because...distraction, of any type, has been proven to cause people to eat more, not less! TV, other people, partying, texting, talking, laughing, playing games, and reading have all been blamed for mindless overeating. We can cross off communal eating as the answer to French skinniness.
Is it that they eat smaller portions than Americans?
There could be something to this. In the US, plate and serving sizes have increased exponentially over the years. So have "all you can eat" restaurants and buffets! In the US, we simply eat more.
People serve themselves more food if plates are larger. This is proven! Restaurants in the States have increased portion sizes over the last three to four decades and it has contributed to the increasing weight of many of us. Most food in US restaurants now comes, not on a plate, but on a platter. No wonder our nation is growing by leaps and pounds!
However, the French, while being served smaller portions on smaller plates, habitually have many more food courses to a meal then we do. And they do this often! Rule out plate and portion size.
Many learned people have looked into these questions and have ruled out each of these suppositions. Eventually. What took them so long?These were silly questions to begin with!
However, I, an American, with neither scientific degrees, nor nutritional education - and having never even been to France - have stumbled upon the answer to The French Paradox!
Perhaps, my answering of this profound, dietary dilemma will earn me some type of award...the Nobel Peace Prize, a heavy weight championship, an Emmy...?
It undoubtedly will make me very wealthy as I "weigh" in on the talk show circuit. Maybe President Trump and the First Lady will want to invite me to the Oval Office to offer their congratulations.
My mind boggles at the fame and fortune I shall reap!!!
Oh, but back to answering The French Paradox...
Have you ever watched French people eating? Well, I haven't either, but I've seen pictures on the Internet and in magazines.
These pictures tell their own story, a true story, that scientists cannot glean because they're too busy doing scientific things like weighing calories and measuring BTU's in food units.
Similarly, nutritionists are far too absorbed in thinking about vitamins and fiber, and such, to see the obvious answer.
And food manufacturers? Forget them, they're way too busy adding salt, fat, and sugar to their products, and plastering questionable food claims on their packaging!
But, I have few of those concerns. I just look at stuff. Simple stuff. Everyday stuff. Stuff on the Internet and in books and magazines. And here's what I've seen! Herein lies the answer to the French Paradox!
They do everything but eat, when sitting down with food! Yes, food is present, but they DO NOT EAT it. They do everything else, however. Yes, the guy in the red shirt, above, seems to be looking at his food, maybe prodding it with his fork, but he's NOT EATING!
Just to further prove my point, here is a banquet table filled with French people. Note, they are NOT EATING! In fact, they have plates in front of them, but NO FOOD!
French people do everything at their bistro and banquet tables EXCEPT EAT!
Case in point...
Yes, French people do sip wine - some a bit, some a lot. So, along with other libations such as coffee and beer - oh, and they do nibble a little chocolate now and then - their caloric needs are being somewhat met. But NOT BY FOOD!
The French people DON'T EAT FOOD! However, they do cook it and serve it, even admire how nice it looks. French cooking, after all, is legendary...but NO ONE EATS IT. They simply decorate their tables and shops with it! Nobody who is French eats it!!! Only tourists actually EAT French food, while in France! The French simply observe their food, surround themselves with it, and decorate their plates and tables with it.
There are, on the other hand, many things French folk do at their tables besides NOT EAT (and sip a variety of beverages supplemented with the occasional nibble of chocolate). Here are a few of those things...
They talk with their hands!
French people, rather than using their hands to eat, use one or both, to illustrate what they are saying. Not much eating gets done at their communal tables because of this cultural custom!
This NOT EATING thing has been going on for hundreds of years. Note that these renaissance guys have a nicely food-decorated table, but they ARE NOT EATING!
..the French are taught from infancy to talk with their hands! In addition to NOT EATING, French kids don't get much PLAYING done either!
Introducing texting into NOT EATING, and TALKING WITH THEIR HANDS, likely means that the French will only further reduce their beverage sipping and chocolate nipping to the point that many of them will simply dry up and blow away! OMG! We must do something to save them!
And, last but not least, is the French National dish...
...would you eat this? Neither do the French! They simply decorate their tables with it!
In fact,this "gastropodic" National Dish may be the prime reason why the French drink more wine than many other cultures. If this was on YOUR table, wouldn't you wave your hands, text, chat - and definitely DRINK - to avoid both seeing and eating this?!
Case made! The French Paradox has been solved! The French simply DO NOT EAT!