weight loss without diet
The most important trait of the so called French Paradox is this: In France, there is no army of diet experts and gurus preaching various and often contradictory weight loss concepts. The French eat according to their tradition and not according to what Dr. X or celebrity Y have to say.
Although the obesity rate is six times lower in France than in the United States, it does not mean that Parisians or Bretons do not get overweight. They usually respond to the problem by eating less of what they normally eat. They don't go on structured diets that force upon them a specific selection of foods.
The French break every single American dietary rule. They eat rich creams, cheeses, butters and breads. They eat all kinds of fish and meat, including pork and fatty poultry. Still, their heart disease rates are over three times lower than those of Americans. According to the World Health Organization's data, eight of the top ten countries whose citizens live the longest are from the Mediterranean region, and France is number three. The United States is ranked at number twenty-four.
To put it briefly: the average Frenchman or Frenchwoman does not avoid fats; does not avoid carbohydrates; does not take dietary supplements; does not shun wine at lunch or dinner. Actually, consumption of alcohol is higher, per capita, in France than in the United States.
Weight loss experts and dieticians explain the French paradox in many different ways and often do not agree with one another. Here are several of the most accepted concepts:
The French eat real and not processed foods thus providing their bodies with variety of natural nutrients. Real foods are digested longer than processed ones, which promotes satiety and uses more calories to complete the process. Real foods are not readily available in packs like chips or cookies, so there is little grazing between meals in France.
The French don't rush through meals. Their physiology responds to this relaxed approach by routing blood to the viscera for optimal digestion. As they eat slowly, their brains receive a neurohormonal message that they are satisfied, so they don't overeat. That's why French portions are much smaller than those served in the U.S. They eat less but by eating without haste and by well tasting their meals they become full for many hours to come.
The French sleep more. A recent study by the University of Wisconsin, the Stanford University, and the University of Bristol in England shows that people sleeping less than eight hours have reduced levels of leptin, a hormone that controls hunger, and higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates eating. According to a survey by the National Sleep Foundation, nearly 75 percent of all Americans do not get enough sleep each night.
The French eat more animal and plant fat than Americans do but their sugar consumption is about three times lower. For a decade the American government indicated fatty foods as mainly responsible for obesity. Now, more and more experts believe that the real culprit is sugar.
Until lately, the role of wine consumption has been the most controversial issue. New research strongly suggests that wine decreases cholesterol levels, increases metabolic rate and provides the human body with healthy micro-nutrients. It also helps to prevent heart disease.
The French are more physically active by simply walking a lot. Their streets are full of pedestrians, because they use cars only for longer travels. Driving to a nearby food store would be considered ridiculous. They go there on foot and carry purchased articles back home in handbags. If they need more things, they make another trip.
Dr. Will Clower, an award-winning neurophysiologist, wrote in his book The French Don't Diet: "They do think about their weight - but they don't treat their foods as we do - as a list of fats, carbs, and proteins to be eaten in a particular ratio. Who in France orders carbs or fats? No one. They have bread, chicken with vegetables, wine, chocolate, and cheese. When they have weight to lose, micromanaging molecules is the last thing on their minds."
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