Although the French diet is exceptionally high in fats (cheese, pastries, chocolate), the French live longer and are healthier than those residing in the UK and the US. This is more commonly known as ‘The French Paradox.’ To fully understand this phenomenon, we have to look more closely at the France’s relationship with food, and how it compares with ours.

Small Portions Of High Quality Food (Low Frequency)

The French are known for their small portion sizes. Often, main meals are made up of small multiple courses that can be enjoyed over a large period of time. When you compare US portions to French portions, you’ll soon see where the differences begin. The French enjoy their food and savor each mouthful – a little goes a long way.

Enjoy Your Food (The French Typically Spend 2 Hours)


To the French, food isn’t just fuel to be choked down when you’ve got 5 minutes to spare, it’s an event. The French make time to experience their food. Usually, that’s 2 hours of their evening spent socialising, drinking wine, and enjoying their meal. This slow pace certainly helps digestion and allows enough time for the body to tell them that they’re comfortably full.

You won’t see French people calorie counting or feeling guilty over food – it’s a pleasure that’s there to be enjoyed in responsible quantities.

Real, Not Processed – Seasonal, Fresh

In France, TV dinners aren’t really a thing. Most French people decide what to cook based on what looks nice in the markets – they bake with seasonal, fresh produce and put real thought into their meals. Most dinners are cooked from scratch and processed foods are rare.

No Snacking

The French usually stick to three meals a day, with no snacking in-between. You just don’t find aisles of unhealthy snacks in French supermarkets.

Wine With Meals

Although the scientific research is hardly conclusive, many scientists think that the main reason why the French Paradox thrives is because of red wine. It helps with digestion and has a multitude of health benefits, if consumed in moderation. Many French people have a glass with their meals.

Maybe we should be taking a leaf out of the French’s book. Try it for yourself and see if you can completely change your relationship with food for the better. For more information on pairing wine with your meals, this independent wine specialist has a great resource on which vino suits which dish.

Photo credits: Sarah R – Nate Gray