French Women Don't Get Fat!

French Women Do Too Get Fat
What the best seller neglects to mention.
By Kate Taylor

Mireille Guiliano, the French-born CEO of Clicquot Inc., Veuve Clicquot's American subsidiary, has many things to toast these days. Besides being 58 and still weighing what she did in her 20s, she is now a best-selling author, too. Her recently published memoir-cum-diet book, French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure is currently at No. 3 on the New York Times list for hardcover advice books. Since the book's publication, she says, she has been inundated with offers to write a sequel, host a cooking show, and wear various designers' dresses to the Oscars. There has even been discussion of a movie. While it's still too soon to tell, it is possible that Guiliano has helped launch one of the periodic turnovers in American dietary mythology. Out with carbophobia; in with Francomania.

Guiliano's book centers on the well-worn idea often called the "French Paradox": French people, who love their cheese and foie gras and croissants, are nonetheless thinner and have lower rates of heart disease than we diet-obsessed Americans. Scientists used to attribute it to red wine; the current theory is that the French "secret" lies in no one food or ingredient, but in their traditional culture of eating.

As Guiliano tells us, the French have elaborate food rituals. They go to the market several times a week and eat only what's in season. Unlike Americans, who buy processed, flavorless food and therefore need to eat a lot of it to feel gratified, the French, by eating better-tasting food and savoring it more consciously, "fool themselves" into being satisfied with less. That is, French women do, since, in Guiliano's book, it is specifically the women who must master "the useful art of self-deception"—mentally balancing the pleasures of food against the competing desires to fit into the latest fashions and to be attractive to French men, who she says like their wives to be "very elegant, very thin."

Ayioh! better go exercise to be "elegant" and with "shape" - Hee3!

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