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Do as the French do!

MAC Nutrition Team - Thursday, July 26, 2018

Do as the French Do!

A recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that people who eat in the “French Eating Model” tend to have a healthier weight. The study, done on 47,219 participants, analyzed eating behavior and BMI. It looked at the number of meals per day, snacking frequency, meal time, meal duration, number of courses, position while eating (sitting or standing), the presence of others while eating, and pleasure experienced. Based on these behavior components, the researchers assessed how closely participants were adhering to the French Eating Model, which is characterized by three meals per day at set times, eaten while sitting at a table with other people, and with participants regarding meals as a moment of pleasure. Higher adherence to this French Eating Model was correlated with a lower likelihood of overweight or obesity.

While this study does not establish a causal relationship between eating like the French and a lower BMI, it could be a call to action for many of us. In American culture, it’s not uncommon to eat on the go, in the car, while walking, at our desks, or in front of the television or computer. We often eat alone, delay meals, skip meals, or eat while doing something else. It’s not clear exactly why eating at a table at set meal times with others keeps people at a healthier weight. But, it could be that the mindfulness that is involved when you sit down, with purpose, for a pleasurable meal encourages people to listen to their hunger and fullness cues more. So take a page out of the French’s book—you could be better off for it!

This blog contribution comes from Louisa Paine, Registered Dietitian at The Mount Auburn Club.

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The information presented here is for general educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or health condition. As always, please speak with your registered dietitian regarding any dietary modifications or nutrition-related questions.