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Why Don't the French Get Fat?

The French dine on baguettes, cheese, pate and pastries, all washed down with plenty of wine -- so why don't they seem to get fat?

This so-called "French paradox redux" that allows French people to eat all the "forbidden" foods and stay thin while Americans get fatter has been demystified by a new Cornell study.

Researchers found that while the French use internal cues -- such as no longer feeling hungry -- to stop eating, Americans use external cues -- such as whether their plate is empty, whether their beverage has run out and whether their TV program is over.

The study, which analyzed questionnaires from 133 Parisians and 145 Chicagoans, also found that the heavier a person is, the more they rely on external cues to tell them to stop eating, and the less they rely on whether they feel full.

Over time, the researchers concluded, instead of relying on external cues, using your body's internal cues to tell you when to stop eating may improve your eating patterns.

* Eurekalert February 15, 2008

* Obesity October 2007 15:2920-2924

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