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Home > Blog > My French Experiment
Out of Our Minds
Friday, April 30, 2004 8:53 AM
My French Experiment
Anita Sharpe on Life



Remember the French Paradox?

In trying to explain why the French lived so long with few heart problems -- despite a daily diet rich in butter, cheese and cream sauces -- researchers decided red wine made all the difference. For most of my adult life, about the only alcohol I have imbibed is red wine, so naturally I embraced this theory. And my cholesterol has always been firmly ensconced in the normal range. My HDL, the 'good' cholesterol, was, at 55, in the 'desirable' range (the higher the better.)

More recently, after hearing from several people who returned from France reporting that they had never felt better or been healthier after a consistent diet of butter, cream and cheese, I took this a step further. Five months ago, I switched to my version of a French diet. Every day, I ate about three ounces of soft cheese such as Brie; I largely gave up red meat but cooked my fish and chicken in cream sauces and real butter; I ate tons of vegetables, also cooked in butter. I started drinking breves (espresso with 6 or so ounces of half-and-half.)

Then I had blood work done. Here are the results. My LDL, the 'bad' cholesterol, stayed roughly the same, still in the normal range. My triglycerides dropped from 110 to 71. But most astounding was what happened with my 'good' cholesterol -- it soared to 96. (I also lost two pounds.)

So what if it turns out that the true root of the French Paradox is all that butter, cream and cheese? The sin is actually the salvation. Brace yourselves for the forthcoming books and business opportunities.


10 comments

Madame Creuzeut - 3/13/2005 8:56:44 AM
I totally disagree with what you are saying.

I weigh 300 pounds and have been on the french diet. Now, im fatter and my breath always smells.

Heather - 3/8/2005 10:10:21 PM
I am of french decent .Perhaps I need to change my eating habits.Sounds pretty good to me .

cheers
Heather
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Trish - 5/6/2004 1:47:01 PM
Note, too, that French walk ALOT more, don't sit on their derrieres some five hours per day watching bad TV and drink spring water throughout the day in addition to their requisite glass or two of 'rouge.' All things Americans should do more of.
Melinda Ennis-Roughton - 4/30/2004 7:09:37 PM
I could easily survive on cheese and wine, although I would miss the occasional gin and tonic. Could you add 2 weekly G&T's to your research analysis and see what happens?
If not, I'll gladly volunteer.
Melinda
victor - 4/30/2004 3:31:49 PM
The latest research shows that the French simply eat smaller portions, and so consume less calories. Super sizing really is to blame for Americans' obesity.

'While the French eat more fat than Americans, they probably eat slightly fewer calories, which when compounded over the years can amount to substantial differences in weight,' said Paul Rozin, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania... Much discussion about the 'obesity epidemic' in the US has focused on personal willpower, but our study shows that the environment also plays an important role and that people may be satisfied even if served less than they would normally eat.'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3173997.stm
Rayne - 4/30/2004 12:58:47 PM
Fascinating! Can't wait to report your results to my father; he's been experimenting with Atkins and South Beach Diet, reading about The Hawaii Diet as well. Based on all he's read and on his own results, he feels that transfats in combination with an excess of simple carbohydrates are the real problems in western diets. In France they don't use transfats; they use animal fat or olive oil. The blood thinning qualities of both wine and olive oil are also key. Having visited France, another issue is the manner in which they eat -- they don't snack (especially carbos between meals!), they eat rounded meals (roughly 30% each protein, carbo, vegetable fiber), and they consume desserts immediately following the meal (combining proteins with carbos mutes the body's rebound demand for an increase in insulin production). Thanks for sharing!
Rayne - 4/30/2004 12:58:01 PM
Fascinating! Can't wait to report your results to my father; he's been experimenting with Atkins and South Beach Diet, reading about The Hawaii Diet as well. Based on all he's read and on his own results, he feels that transfats in combination with an excess of simple carbohydrates are the real problems in western diets. In France they don't use transfats; they use animal fat or olive oil. The blood thinning qualities of both wine and olive oil are also key. Having visited France, another issue is the manner in which they eat -- they don't snack (especially carbos between meals!), they eat rounded meals (roughly 30% each protein, carbo, vegetable fiber), and they consume desserts immediately following the meal (combining proteins with carbos mutes the body's rebound demand for an increase in insulin production). Thanks for sharing!
Halley - 4/30/2004 10:50:25 AM
LOL Mon Dieu! H
Lee Wilder - 4/30/2004 10:02:51 AM
While the cholesterol benefits of the French diet appear to be astonishingly positive, one should be on the alert for the negative impact on personality and character. Studies have shown a comparable increase in arrogance, jingoism and insufferable indifference to customer service from this cuisine.

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