Why Don’t The French Get As Fat As Americans?

It’s the French paradox redux: Why don’t the French get as fat as Americans, considering all the baguettes, wine, cheese, pate and pastries they eat?

Because they use internal cues — such as no longer feeling hungry — to stop eating, reports a new Cornell study. Americans, on the other hand, tend to use external cues — such as whether their plate is clean, they have run out of their beverage or the TV show they’re watching is over.

“Furthermore, we have found that the heavier a person is — French or American — the more they rely on external cues to tell them to stop eating and the less they rely on whether they felt full,” said senior author Brian Wansink, the John S. Dyson Professor of Marketing and director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab in the Department of Applied Economics and Management, now on leave to serve as executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion until January 2009.

Source

If you want to learn more about the science behind the obesity epidemic I recommend the book Waistland by Harvard psychologist Deirdre Barrett. It covers the obesity epidemic from an evolutionary standpoint and introduced me to the novel concept of “supernormal stimuli.”

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