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How French Women Stay Slim and Never Go Hungry

slim french lady
Fat was the enemy of obesity, now it's a friend as it keeps insulin lower. (Image: Kaz/Pixabay)

There is a paradox in France: People indulge in rich, full-fat foods, and stay remarkably slim. Why is this so?

When most people want to lose weight, they try to follow a fat-free diet believing that fat makes you fat. Actually, fat is a superior ingredient when you’re trying to shed pounds.

Healthy saturated fats, are beneficial in the diet for two main reasons: They help keep your insulin levels down and help curb hunger — making you feel satisfied.

The old saying: “Eat fat to stay slim” has much truth behind it.

When it comes to losing weight and keeping it off, fat is your friend.

No connection between fat, and heart disease

Doesn’t a high-fat diet lead to heart disease and obesity? Many scientists and nutritionists used to think so, although the evidence for this theory never did add up.

Heart disease for example has steadily risen, even though many have swapped their saturated fats to unsaturated fats such as those found in margarine. The problem of heart disease may actually pose more of a risk for people eating a high-carbs diet rather than a high-fat diet — as our ancestors always have.

Fat supports weight-loss through balancing hormones

Fat not only keeps the insulin hormone low, which kicks the body into weight loss mode, it switches on leptin, a hormone that tells your brain you’re full. Therefore, after you eat fat, you don’t need to eat such a large meal or keep snacking — you’re done!

French cuisine is often quality protein, vegetables and a luscious buttery or cream sauce. (Image:Edsel L/flickr)

French cuisine often contains quality protein, vegetables, and a luscious butter or cream sauce. (Image: Edsel L via Compfight cc

In this video, Sally Asher, nutritionist and author, explains how you can enjoy fat, and include it into a nourishing diet that is sustainable in the long-term because we all know that fad diets that abstain from carbs, and fats inevitably leave you feeling deprived, hungry, and unhappy.

Sally Asher is not French but on her visit to France, she tried the high-fat French diet and could lose weight effortlessly and still enjoy her food. While abroad, she had a realization that changed the way she understood diet, and most importantly the benefits of including fat.

Sally Asher was so inspired by her experience while eating a French diet, she went on to write three books: Losing it in France, Les Secrets of the French Diet, How I got Skinny Eating Fat, French Style, and her recipe book: Easy Healthy Recipes. 

What French women do to stay slim

  • Keep starchy, high-carbs food to a minimum. These food spike our insulin levels, and tell the body to store fat. If you are wondering about all the bread eaten in France, the majority is sourdough bread which has a lower GI than bread that uses instant yeast.
  • By eating protein and fat in every meal or snack, leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full and satisfied, gets switched on, helping you reach a sense of fullness sooner and for longer. If you do include carbohydrates in your meals, that’s okay. Just eat them alongside fat and protein.
Assortment of french cheese, sausage, and a baguette, all full-fat products. (Image:waitscm/flickr)

Assortment of french cheese, sausage, and a baguette all full-fat products. (Image: Chris Waits via Flickr CC BY 2.0)

  • Take small bites, eat slowly, and really savor your food.
  • Avoid sugary foods by themselves, they release a hormone called ghrelin which only increases our appetite. If you have a sweet tooth, opt for fatty sweet food such as dark chocolate or creamy egg custards that are not overly sweet.
  • Eat fat to dissolve your hunger. It is also a source of energy, which will keep you fueled for activity throughout your day. So, add butter to your bread, drizzle olive oil over your meals and snack on cheese, yogurt, nuts, and avocado.
  • Include fiber in your meals, this helps your body to burn it’s fuel slower. This is another factor which slows the insulin response. Fiber is found in vegetables and fruit.
  • Limit snacking, and try to stick to three round meals a day. This way, there is less opportunity for insulin to rise. With more fat in your meals, you will feel satisfied for longer, and won’t be inclined to snack.
  • Include moderate exercise such as walking, riding or swimming in your everyday life.
You don't need to be an elite athlete to lose weight. Instead, just enjoy your daily ride, walk, or swim. (Image:bortescristian/flickr)

You don’t need to be an elite athlete to lose weight. Instead, just enjoy your daily ride, walk, or swim. (Image: bortescristian via Compfight cc )

  • Indulge in a dessert or treat occasionally, and enjoy it. If you employ the rest of the recommendations for the majority of the time, you can afford to break the rules every so often.

French women don’t count calories

Counting calories, saying: “No” to fat, and feeling hungry is no way to live and not an effective way to diet in the long-term. In fact, these are both body signals telling that it is time to store fat, and take the time to seek out more food. In actual fact, you are going against the grain of what you are trying to achieve, weight loss.

On the other hand, French women eat full-fat, real food that sticks to the ribs, and gives the body what it needs. They are satisfied for longer time and their body burn fat as energy. Most importantly, they relax and enjoy their food and focus on the important things in life.

The writer of this story is not a medical professional, and the information that is in this story has been collected from reliable sources — and every precaution has been taken to ensure its accuracy. The information provided is for general information purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional health care.

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