I am sure you have heard the term the “French paradox”.
Paradox is a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true.
The French paradox has stumped the U.S. health care practitioners because the French have relatively low rates of heart disease and obesity even though they have a high diet of cholesterol and saturated fat compared to the U.S.
In fact, a neuroscientist Will Clower, who lived in France for two years and wrote “The Fat Fallac The French Diet Secrets to Permanent Weight Loss”.
In the book he observed that when Americans go over there over to France to live, they lose weight, and when the French come to the US to live, they gain weight.
The French diet has lots of butter, cream, fatty liver pate and cheese – a sure recipe for weight gain you would think, isn’t it?
So why are their rates of obesity and heart disease much lower than that of the USA?
To the U.S. the French diet looks like an all-you-can-eat buffet.
So what is the French lifestyle that leads to a lower rate of obesity, heart disease and even a longer life?
First, you should know that the “French paradox” is not just limited to France.
The UK, Germany, Austria, Finland, Belgium, Iceland, the Netherlands and Switzerland also do very well eating a high saturated fat diet too.
As you study these countries you find as the percentages of saturated fat rise in their diets the rates of death from heart disease fall.
So it seems the “French paradox” is not really a paradox at all.
It only becomes a paradox if you believe saturated fat causes heart disease. But there is really not any evidence that it does.
Listen, you have probably heard throughout your whole life that a low fat diet is a healthy diet.
It seems to be the advice given to all the health problems you may face by most of the healthcare practitioners in the U.S.
So why are the countries that are eating the high saturated fat diets so much healthier than you are here in the U.S.?
Well it all started in 1913 in St. Petersburg, Russia, Nikolaj Nikolajewitsch Anitschkow who fed rabbits cholesterol and determined that it led to a disease of the arteries characterized by the deposits of plaque of fatty material on their inner walls.
But apparently it wasn’t questioned that rabbits are herbivores and do not naturally consume cholesterol!
This began the notion that eating cholesterol leads to plaque deposits in your arteries, and at that time it was believed that all cholesterol in your blood was due to dietary sources.
This is not true because your liver makes about 75% of your body’s cholesterol.
So even if you didn’t eat any cholesterol, you would still have cholesterol in your body, which is a good thing considering it’s needed by every one of your cells to produce cell membranes.
Then to add to the confusion, Dr. Ancel Keys published a paper in the 1950’s that still serves as the basis for nearly all of the base scientific support for the Cholesterol Theory.
This study is known as the “Seven Countries Study”, which linked the consumption of dietary fat to coronary heart disease.
Problem is, he studied 22 countries!
What you may not know is that when Keys published his analysis he excluded the countries that did not fit his hypothesis.
In fact, if all 22 countries had been analyzed, there would have been no correlation found whatsoever between saturated fat and heart disease.
In reality his study should have been called the “22 Countries Study”!
So why do we still follow this low fat diet advice today when there is so much evidence showing it may actually be bad to do so?
Ask your doctor…
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