The French Paradox: 2 Secrets for a Healthier Diet

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: March 11, 2020

Written by Beatrice Beard-Guest Contributor

Health and food walk hand in hand. What we consume affects our bodies greatly, causing countless diseases such as obesity, heart conditions, high levels of cholesterol and diabetes. Why the amount of people that suffer from these conditions keeps growing is quite simple: preference of high quantities of processed food with dangerous preservatives by sacrificing quality over quantity. Obviously, this begs the question of how can we change our eating habits in order to improve our life?

There are many different options these days, but there’s one in particular that has had proven results over centuries: French cuisine. What is commonly known as the ‘French Paradox’, explains the intriguing ability of French people to stay healthy and slim, despite the fact that they consume all the types of food considered inappropriate in any diet. What is their secret? Well, there are actually two!

Quality and Flavor

France is renowned across the globe for its cuisine, which has been given the status of UNESCO world heritage. There are very good reasons for this!

One of the main characteristics of French cooking is the preference for fresh ingredients, which is a safe way of knowing what components are going into your body, lowering the risks of health problems caused by additives and hormones that overpower processed food. If you make the transition from supermarkets to local markets, you’ll start to notice the improvements in your body and daily life. Also, buying locally is better for the environment, a good support system for agriculture and your local industry, and, ultimately, more cost effective.

“Another aspect of the quality found in the French eating habits is a recurrent non-usage of seasonings and salt. They know which natural ingredients combine in order to get the right flavors. For example, red meat with mustard, or seafood with lemon. There are various options you can explore for yourself, either through cooking books or online recipes,” says Gabriella Dante, a health writer at BritStudent and Australia2Write.

Also, French recipes don’t often require preparation with allegedly healthier oils, like olive oil. Surprising as it may sound, they use fat milk, cream and butter in most of their cooking. A very popular ingredient is lardons, which are actually thin strips of bacon fat. However, French people have some of the lowest levels of cholesterol and heart conditions in Europe. The explanation behind this is their use of healthy fat products and organic dairy in moderate consumption. You can easily apply these substitutions to your daily cooking and see for yourself the improvements in your body and daily life.

Portions: Quality Over Quantity

The key here is understanding the difference between ‘being full’ and ‘being satisfied’. It’s not about eating endlessly, it’s about enjoying and savoring rationed amounts of food. Quality over quantity: preparing better meals is the answer.

The French eat ice cream and all types of desserts regularly. The difference is that they treat themselves with smaller portions. For instance, a lunch portion can be served in a saucer-sized plate. At first glance, you’ll think it won’t be enough to satiate you. Interestingly enough, however, the small amount of food you’ll be served is so fresh and flavorful that you’ll find yourself satisfied and no longer feel the need to keep eating. Also, taking your time during your meal and eating slower will impact the level of hunger you might be experiencing.

Another point that is a game-changer is that the French don’t snack. They have thoughtfully prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner, consumed at appropriate hours, which results in their foregoing snacking and balanced eating habits.

Did you know that obesity rates in France are among the lowest in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development? About 1 in 10 people is obese in France, and almost 40% are overweight (including obese). Notice the difference in rates in the USA:


Numbers don’t lie! The truth is that the French, from their early years, are taught that food is an essential part of life and, therefore, must be pleasurable. This philosophy allows them to develop healthier eating habits as they grow up.

Why not follow their example and make the necessary adjustments to fight obesity and other food-related health problems? Try following the French Paradox and change your life for the better.

Beatrice is a professional copywriter at PhD Kingdom and Nextcoursework specializing in a variety of business and eCommerce topics.