We often hear about the "French Paradox and how the French eat lots of foods like butter and cheese and their diets are high in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol yet they have lower rates of heart disease than Americans. There was even a best selling book called "French Women Don't Get Fat"
However, a study published in the British Medical Journal back in 1999, looked at this phenomenon and gave several reasons for this apparent paradox. I reviewed the article at the time and wrote a newsletter on it. If you haven't read my newsletter on this topic yet, you can read it here .
Now, a new study by Brian Wansinck, PhD discovers another missing piece to this apparent paradox.
Brian Wansick also wrote the book Mindless Eating, which was one of my favorites for the year 2006. He looks at external and environmental cues that influence how much we eat without us realizing it. A real eye-opening read. It has now come out in paperback.
This new study, Internal and External Cues of Meal Cessation: The French Paradox Redux? was published in the journal OBESITY (Vol. 15 No. 12 December 2007). In the study, the researchers examined whether there was a difference in the "cues" or signals between the French and American subjects to see when they knew they had consumed enough food and in turn, stopped eating. The results, while not surprising, tell us more about the toxic food environment we live in and how it influences us to eat more than we think we are.
From the study.....
The French were more likely to report food behaviors that suggested that they used internal cues of meal cessation rather than external cues of meal cessation.
More so than Americans, the French reported that they stopped eating
- when they started to feel full,
- when they wanted to leave room for dessert,
- and when they no longer felt hungry.
In contrast, Americans reported food behaviors that suggested that they tended to use external cues of meal cessation rather than internal cues .
More so than the French, Americans reported that they stopped eating
- when others thought it was normal,
- when they ran out of a beverage,
- and when the television show they were watching was over.
You just gotta love those Americans...
"when their TV show they were watching was over!"
And then we wonder why there is an apparent "paradox?"