Smaller portions - thinner people

American politicians and health authorities fight on all fronts against the over-fatting in their own country. A French-American research team has explained the "French paradox". In spite of abundant food, the French are still much slimmer than the population across the pond. Reason: The portions are simply smaller, report the scientists of the University of Philadelphia.

The "French Paradox"

According to the study, the French paradox is paradoxical only insofar as one has previously considered the fat content of the food as the reason for the overweight. However, studies suggest that the importance of fat in food as a risk factor has been exaggerated. One has found out: The French eat more fat than the Americans, but eat less calories. That leads after a few years to huge differences in weight, the researchers say.

In figures, only seven percent of French people are obese, while the number of fat Americans is 22 percent. For this reason, the mortality rates in cardiovascular disease in France are much lower. For the Americans, the image of the Frenchman eating butter croissants, who also uses luscious Brie cheese and sweets every day, was a mystery.

However, portion-size surveys in various restaurants in Paris and Philadelphia have delivered significant results: while the average weight of one serving in Paris is 277 grams, Philadelphia offers 25 percent larger portions weighing 346 grams. The investigation also looked at fast food places.

Eaten what is on the table

American restaurant guides, unlike in Paris, praise locals who offer particularly generous portions. In many studies it has become clear that the customer eats what he is served. This means that full, lusciously loaded plates are also consumed more or less uncritically.

The Americans are characterized not only by larger portions in the pubs: Also in the supermarkets, the portion sizes were a lot lush. For example, Philadelphia's soft drinks were 52 percent larger, the hot dog 63 percent, and yoghurt 82 percent larger than in France. Of 17 products, 14 were more impressive in the US than in Europe.

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