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Nov 21, 1999 08:40 PM

Why the French don't suffer from their diet

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In the unlikely event that eanyone missed the article on Paul Rozin's theories about the French diet in this weeks NYTimes week in review, the link is below.

It runs something like this: Americans have come to view food as an enemy, a source of all sorts of harmful substances rather than as a source of nourishment and (especially) pleasure. The attitude of the French is, needless to say, rather different. These attitudinal differences to food (and life) have a decisive influence on various diseases, the rates of which are lower in France then here. (And maybe they eat fewer calories than us anyway ;-)

I wonder about Rozin's use of statistics, but it nevertheless seems like great news for chowhounds. (Unless of course chowhoundery is more obsessive than pleasurable, but that is a matter of another post.)


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  1. There was an interesting figure in that article -- 26 percent of Americans said that if there were a pill available that would eliminate the need to eat, they'd be interested in taking it. (Among the French, only half that number expressed similar interest.) While I'm aware that not everyone loves food as much as the people who frequent this board, I was still surprised to hear that so many consider eating a hassle rather than a pleasure.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chris E.

      i've completely forgotten which author said this (hasn't stopped me from palming it off as original), but the quote was "in the future, the american grocery store will become a shrine to the body and it will have its aisles labelled 'proteins', 'carbohydrates' etc."

    2. The French diet is said to contain more alcohol - especially wine - and less sugar. They also use more butter and olive oil and less of the artificially hydrogenated oils that pollute our food supply.

      But the psychological component does sound interesting.