01/15/2013 12:16 EST | Updated 03/17/2013 05:12 EDT

Eat Like the French and Love Your Life


It's common knowledge that French women don't get fat, but what about French men? And what are they doing that allows them to stay slender while drinking twice as much wine as North Americans and eating way more fatty foods. More importantly...can you get away with it too?

The stats


Obese Adults: 14.3 per cent

Litres of Alcohol/person/yr: 7.8

Litres of beer/person/yr: 70

Juice consumed L/yr: 52.6

Soft Drinks L/yr: 119

Wine consumption L./yr: 10


Obese Adults: 9.4 per cent

Litres of Alcohol/person/yr: 14.8

Litres of beer/person/yr: 41

Juice consumed L/yr: 23.5

Soft Drinks L/yr: 37.2

Wine consumption L/year: 47


There were no stats on consumption of potato chips, corn chips, red meat portion sizes or "snacks" but you can already see the trend developing. They get away with it because they avoid the empty calories and blood sugar-spiking evils of beer, juice and soft drinks and instead are still committed to real food, pleasurable meals and taking the time to eat.

Here is your swap sheet to enjoy the pleasures of the French as a North American man:

  • Give up the beer. Switch to a maximum of two glasses of wine (preferably red) each day
  • Don't snack. Have breakfast, lunch and dinner and a piece of cheese with fruit at night
  • Learn to love your coffee black or switch to tea. Drink up to three cups per day but get rid of the useless calories from cream and sugar.
  • Toss out all liquid calories from juice or pop. Drink water, milk (two cups/day) or wine.
  • Eat only grass-fed beef or lamb and only in portions the size of your palm and only twice per week
  • Eat lots of fish, grilled or baked
  • Have sex for exercise (there are very few gyms in France, my unscientific theory is that this is why)
  • Laugh, talk, think, learn. All of these pleasures will reduce the stress that creates belly fat

Not one of these swaps is a hardship, you don't see "eat kale" or "take vitamins" or "pump iron" on this list. There is a simple joie de vivre that comes with the French lifestyle that feeds everything else. It goes something like this: be moderate, except in your love of life.

School Lunches Around The World