As a trim, chic couple passes me on the street, I hear snatches of their conversation—in French. The other night at a restaurant, I heard Italian coming from a nearby table of three generations: healthy children, parents and grandparents. Living in Washington, D.C., with all the embassies and international organizations, I wind up hearing many different languages. When I recognize one, I do a quick—and surreptitious—assessment of the speaker’s body weight. My amateur research findings, corroborated by legitimate studies, are that in most other countries, people are at healthier weights than Americans. For instance, our obesity rate is 3.5 times that of France’s.
I’ve pumped my international friends—all of whom are at a healthy body weight—for their secrets. No matter where they come from, there is one strategy they all share: They respect the concept of mealtimes. They eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, with little to no snacking in between. Read Full Post >
Pierre Dukan is the author of The Dukan Diet, and his books have sold millions of copies around the world, thanks in no small part to being Kate Middleton’s rumored diet. Now, the author is dipping his toes into the political arena by offering advice concerning the national obesity problem.
Dukan suggested to the future president of France that students should receive higher marks for staying within a specified body mass index range.
“For those who don’t need to lose weight, it wouldn’t change anything,” said Dukan. “For the others, it would motivate them.”
Dukan says that half of the population is overweight and that this trend has doubled in the past 12 years. He seems to think that targeting students under the age of 18 is one way to curb this problem. Read Full Post >
Can beer be engineered into a health food? Could this be the best news in the history of mankind?
Researchers at Rice University in Houston are working on a beer that could fight cancer and heart disease. Taylor Stevenson, a member of the six-student research team at Rice, said they are using genetic engineering to create a beer that includes resveratrol, the disease-fighting chemical that’s been found in red wine. Resveratrol is also a natural component of grapes and pomegranates Read Full Post >
This morning on the Today Show, they discussed how three countries manage to stay fit and trim, while eating decadent foods. Japan, Italy and France are far fitter than the U.S., which ranks as the heaviest country in the world (sharing the #1 and #2 positions with Mexico).
So how do they do it? The general rule across all three of these countries: portion control. America lives in a super size world, and we’re about the only ones who do. Can you incorporate their eating methods into your diet?
They eat smaller amounts of protein. Their meals focus on fruits, vegetables and grains- and let the meat act as a side dish. The Japanese derive a lot of protein from soy sources. They also eat clear soups prior to a meal- which is filling and makes you less likely to over-indulge at meal time.
Again, smaller portions are the rule of thumb here. They eat smaller amounts of better quality food. So they are satisfied in both the amount they’ve eaten, and the flavor. The French also use a smaller sized plate than Americans.
The Italians also serve smaller portions at their meals. A standard serving of pasta is about 5oz., versus the 10oz. or more typical here in the States. Olive oil and red wine are common fare at meal time- they also eat the grapes and olives whole, which are good sources of antioxidants and good fatty acids.
On Tuesday, April 15th, while most of us were scrambling to the Post Office to mail in our tax forms, France’s parliament adopted a bill to make it illegal for anyone to promote extreme thinness in men or women. From fashion moguls and magazines to websites on how to subsist on 200 calories a day or less, this legislation, if passed, would be truly groundbreaking for all of us who have suffered or who have known anyone to suffer from a body image or eating disorder.
It’s no doubt that extreme thinness in fashion models, as well as thousands of women throughout the world, is a serious and grave problem. You also have to consider how complex eating disorders are. It’s not just about food and a number on a scale. All of us are bombarded with images of skinny models wearing size 0 clothing, but only .5% to 1% of all young American women have anorexia and about 10% of young American women are bulimic. Obviously something else is going on here on a much deeper level than just being exposed to billboards and photographs of emaciated women.
That aside, A legislation like this would surely send a message to anyone or any company that idolizes or promotes the beauty of razor-thin women. And as someone who has battled with body image issues her whole life, I see this kind of initiative as a step in the right direction, even if proving it in court is near impossible.
What do you think about this legislation? Do you think it’s a step in the right direction or is France just putting a band-aid on cancer?