The Best Of Paris: Healthy Living

dining in Paris
Photo: Even the cafe tables are small in Paris

It’s been widely advertised that the French are among the slimmest people in the world. This is a little hard to believe given the widespread availability of butter, and amazing French food in general.

But does the data support the claim that the French are the slimmest people?

Turns out that, yes, the French are the slimmest, at least when compared to the rest of the Western world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), France has a lower percentage of overweight citizens than the rest of Europe and North America. Denmark gives France a run for their money, but France still wins.

So how do France and the Parisians do it?

Well, there’s no single thing that does it. It’s lots of smaller contributing things, such as:

Smaller Portions: When you eat at a restaurant in Paris, you’ll notice that the portion sizes are smaller. Dessert is especially small. However, the food is over-the-top amazing, and distracts you from the fact that you got less food. Supermarket portions in Paris are smaller, too. Example: you’ll find milk in quarts instead of gallons.

Wine, Not Beer: The majority of French drinkers prefer wine over beer. Wine has far less calories than beer, and is typically enjoyed more slowly. This adds up to a far lower calorie count over time.

Walking: The Paris Metro system takes people away from cars and into the subway. However, you must first walk to get to the subway, and then do a bit of walking when you get off. Cardio exercise is an implied part of the daily routine. And it happens multiple times each day.

You Have To Carry Your Groceries: Another side effect of riding the Metro is the fact that you have to carry your groceries home rather than put them in your car. This means you are A) walking more and B) tending to buy less groceries, because you can only carry so much.

Small Refrigerators: It’s good that Parisians only carry a small amount of groceries, because they can’t fit much in the fridge anyway. Everything in a Paris apartment is small, including the refrigerator. Picture the size of a college dorm fridge in the U.S..

No Soda: A good way to advertise your tourist status in Paris is to order a Coke. It’s available, but not common. You have to really look to find someone enjoying a soft drink in Paris.

These things keep the City of “Light” healthy without relying much on big fitness centers or the next fitness craze. Healthy living is built in to the daily routine in Paris. As long as you stay away from the cigarettes, that is.

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