March 17th

theresa albert - my friend in food


Why French Men Don’t Have Beer Bellies


It is common knowledge that French women don’t get fat, but what about French men? And what are they doing that allows them to stay slender while drinking twice as much wine as North Americans and eating way more fatty foods.  More importantly…can you get away with it too?

The stats

Canada                                                                                                                   France

Obese Adults                                                       14.3 %                                         9.4%

Litres of Alcohol/person /yr                          7.8                                          14.8 L

Litres of beer/person/yr                                70                                               41

Litres Juice consumed/person/yr             52.6                                            23.5

Soft Drinks   L/person/yr                               119                                              37.2

Wine consumption L/person/yr                  10 L                                        47 L



There were no stats on consumption of potato chips, corn chips, red meat portion sizes or “snacks” but you can already see the trend developing.  They get away with it because they avoid the empty calories and blood sugar spiking evils of beer, juice and soft drinks and instead are still committed to real food, pleasurable meals and taking the time to eat.

Here is your swap sheet to enjoy the pleasures of the French as a North American Man:

  • Give up the beer. Switch to a maximum of 2 glasses of wine (preferably red) each day
  • Don’t snack. Have breakfast, lunch and dinner and a piece of cheese with fruit at night
  • Learn to love your coffee black or switch to tea. Drink up to 3 cups per day but get rid of the useless calories from cream and sugar. Toss out all liquid calories from juice or pop. Drink water, milk (2 cups/day) or wine.
  • Eat only grass fed beef or lamb and only  in portions the size of your palm and only twice per week
  • Eat lots of fish, grilled or baked
  • Have sex for exercise (there are very few gyms in France, my unscientific theory is that this is why)
  • Laugh, talk, think, learn. All of these pleasures will reduce the stress that creates belly fat.

Not one of these swaps is a hardship, you don’t see “eat kale” or “take vitamins” or “pump iron” on this list.  There is a simple joie de vivre that comes with the French lifestyle that feeds everything else.  It goes something like this: Be moderate except in your love of life.



Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert

I love food, try to watch my weight, know more than I want to about healthy living (sometimes I wish I knew less so I wouldn’t feel so guilty when I stumble), am a daughter, sister, friend, mom and wife who worries and scurries the meals onto the table. It is for all these reasons that I completed my nutrition, RNCP designation, wrote my book, hosted my Food Network show, consult with food companies to urge them to get it right (or at least better), constantly write about it, research it, all of this so I can cut through the nutrition and food “news” clutter. Happy to share with friends!


2 Responses

    January 17, 2013 at 7:22 pm Reply

    Theresa, you missed one key point – walk EVERYWHERE! To work, school, shopping, meeting friends, the movies, and just because you can.
    Unlike we North Americans, Eurpoeans do not rely on on their cars for transportation. You’ve got feet, so use them.

    March 9, 2013 at 5:27 pm Reply

    Hello Teresa, this links to an article that I think you will enjoy.

    So many great things to say about beer.

    Luke Harford
    Ottawa, Canada

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