Myth #6: “French people are thin because they drink wine and eat butter”

This week we are continuing our discussion of Dr. Mark Hyman’s book,


There is a lot of interest in the past couple of years with the phenomenon that French people (and other Europeans) are much thinner than Americans, despite their rich diet and consumption of wine. What is it about the French lifestyle that allows them to eat such rich foods and still remain thin?

There are four components that we can learn from that differ from the typical American lifestyle:

1. French people eat real food.

The French eat minimally processed, whole foods. The country as a whole does not eat much junk food, snack foods, or fast foods. The French have pride in their cuisine and use the best, freshest ingredients possible, rather than relying on packaged meals and convenience foods.

2. French people eat less food.

If you go to a French restaurant, you’ll notice the portions are noticeably smaller. Our portion sizes in American are huge–and then you have the option to supersize! Often the meal you receive at an American restaurant is 2-3 times what you should be consuming. Ask for a box with your meal and take home half of your food for lunch or dinner the next day.

3. French people eat slowly.

A meal in France often takes a couple of hours. French people take enjoyment in their mealtimes and use it as a time to socialize and relax, rather than eating while they work or watch TV. Their focus is on the food, which allows them to eat slower, enjoy what they are eating, and also keep track of their portion size.

4. French people walk more.

Many French cities and towns are designed for walking, while American cities are designed for driving. The French often walk to do their shopping or take a long walk after a meal. Even if you are unable to walk to the grocery store, you can still learn from the French lifestyle and take an evening stroll or afternoon walk on your lunch break.

In reality, the secret to the French lifestyle is not eating saturated fats or drinking alcohol, but enjoying real, whole foods, and walking more. Sounds simple enough!

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About the author

A practicing dentist since 1982, Dr. Gary Imm, provides advanced cosmetic dentistry, including smile makeovers, sedation, implant and TMJ services. He is committed to progressive, extraordinary care for his guests. All Smiles Dental Care trains at least 300 hours each year at such prestigious centers as the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dentistry. (LVI)