Thursday, March 08, 2007

France's Food Warning Labels

French women are about to get fatter (so are French men).

I've posted in the past about the fact that despite the book that suggests the contrary, the French are not a skinny nation, close to 50% of the country is now overweight or obese - a fact not lost on its government.

Apparently now in France, all food ads will be contain new warning labels meant to help reduce rates of obesity:

  • For your health eat at least 5 fruits and vegetables daily.
  • For your health undertake regular physical activity.
  • For your health avoid eating too much fat, too much sugar, too much salt.
  • For your health avoid snacking between meals
  • France better hope people don't pay attention to that last one.

    Not snacking between meals or waiting until you're hungry to eat, has got to be the stupidest recommendation anyone could make to a person trying to manage their weight.

    Have you ever gone to a Supermarket hungry? You buy more, right? Well sitting down to a meal hungry is like going to the Supermarket, it's just that you're now only shopping for one meal.

    As soon as you're hungry you can kiss reasonable choices behind. Our bodies are trained through millions of years of evolution to satisfy hunger. Not snacking is a sure-fire way to invite hunger into your life.

    I'd be recommending, "Make healthy, low-calorie choices every 2-3 hours to control your hunger". Sure, it's wordy but if followed it would actually help rather than exacerbate the problem.

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    1. Anonymous5:55 pm

      Actually, according to the OECD less than ONE-THIRD of France's population is currently overweight or obese. All one needs to do is walk down the street in France to see the STARK contrast to the U.S.

      Though it is true that they do get fat - it's mainly because of the influence of our (the American) culture and American foods. Luckily, the French gov't is taking action to make sure they don't become like us. They realize that taking care of their people now, costs them much less money in the future.

      I'm an American and lived in France within the last few years and can tell you they sure as heck eat differently than we do, and THINK differently about food. We would be wise to follow their way of thinking.

    2. Alexie12:26 pm

      I have to agree with the previous poster. I live in Germany, right on the French border, and cross into France regularly. I don't see lots of fat people, any more than I do in Germany.

      Where you do see fat is in older people, which is typical middle age thickening. Maybe it's not terribly healthy, but the fact that so many people have it says more about the aging population than anything else, I think.

      The extreme obesity seen in the Anglo Saxon countries is rarely seen.

    3. Eating ONLY at mealtimes, for adults, is part of the french food culture