The French Paradox – Myth or Truth?

Are you aware that I’m a mad francophile and desperately trying to be a francophone too? My dream (read goal) is to one day own une petite maison de francais somewhere in the French countryside. It will happen … just not quite sure when!! So anything French gets my attention and one that has before is the French Paradox.

So what is the French Paradox?? I first learned of the French Paradox while studying Nutrition at university. The term French Paradox was coined by Dr. Serge Renaud, a scientist from Bordeaux University in France. In 1990 he was cited in the highly regarded medical journal The Lancet. He explained that despite the French having a diet rich in saturated fats (wrongly considered the “unhealthy” fats) complemented by copious amounts of red wine, they have a relatively low incidence of coronary heart disease.

The Americans as they tend to do, after airing the concept on 60 minutes, seized the information and made it work to their advantage.  Their sales of red wine went through the roof  increasing by 44%!! Despite no doubt enjoying many a fine bouteille de vin rouge, the US is still plagued with a high incidence of obesity and coronary heart disease, as is Australia. Yet France paradoxically is not!

Over the last 15 years a number of articles and books have been devoted to the French Paradox and when googled 2,030,000 results come up in .44 sec!! (can you tell I’m intrigued by the working of Mr Google!) I have read two books on the topic

  1. French Women Don’t Get Fat – The Secret of Eating for Pleasure by Mireille Guiliano
  2. Losing it in France – Les Secrets of the French Diet by Sally Asher.

Mireille Guiliano is a French woman living in New York and Sally Asher is an Australian who lived in France and now resides in Australia. Essentially their message is the same. It is not because their diets are full of delicious fromage, baguettes, croissants, chocolat chaud and vin rouge that the French on the whole remain slim. Nor does it involve enormous amounts of discipline or deprivation. Sally Asher sums it up beautifully. It is about ”believing that I deserved to love what I eat and eat what I love…distinguish between physical hunger, respect fullness and eat with pure awareness.. self criticism is replaced with self nurturing… quality over quantity….They (the French) have a mind set that helps them stay slender and they refuse to accept that being overweight is part of their fate.”

Mmmmm… I just think that advice may sound a little familiar to a few of my readers?? You know I’m all about having your mind in the right place to support your health journey. If it’s not and constantly sabotaging your weight loss efforts with various monkey mind chatter then in 9/10 cases the monkey usually wins! Damn monkey!

Eating mindfully is another extremely important tool in your tool box and that’s why I have my audio training available to you at all times – compliments from me to you – you can find it here at

My question to you today is do you believe you eat mindfully? 

Let me know in the comments below.

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Oui c’est moi a Paris!

Be Healthy & Happy!


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I'm Your Mindset Nutritionist. My favourite things are wellness and weight loss but don't ask me to create a diet for you because guess what? Diets do not work! My clients don't diet! When I work with you we uncover any underlying thoughts/patterns that may be sabotaging your wellness efforts, then I educate and empower you to shed your weight and embrace wellness - not only do you look better... you'll feel amazing!

2 thoughts on “The French Paradox – Myth or Truth?

  1. Great article! Never thought about loving my food until recently. No changes in diet or exercise but the weight is coming off!!

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