The Parisian Diet: How French Women Don’t Get Fat

Amelia Phillips

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They eat croissants, cheese, truffles, macarons, drink champagne and despite all that, Parisians are amongst the most slender-figured nationalities in the world. In fact, obesity rate in France is currently three times lower than that of Australia and USA. Their culture devours some of the most delicious (and rich) foods known to mankind, ones that are often tagged as ‘bad’ or ‘indulgent’ food in our world!

This makes us wonder, how do the French do this? How do they eat all that and still remain slender and stay away from remarkable health warning?

They follow a Parisian diet – one that you can follow as well. A French talk show host and nutritionist, Dr. John Michele Cohen, has created a new diet (aimed at Western countries) that focuses on French eating habits. It doesn’t prohibit you of any food, and promises a slimmer figure, if followed religiously.

How does this diet work?

It touts you will learn how to eat with pleasure, achieve your correct weight, and keep the kilos off, forever. All recipes are simple and healthy, made out of the freshest ingredients, so it’s easy to fit this diet into your everyday life. It also encourages you to eat each meal at a set time and place and drink plenty of water.

There are three phases to this diet: Cafe phase, Bistro Phase and Gourmet Phase.

The Café phase is an optional quick start phase with lots of liquids, soups and beverages.
Sample menu
Breakfast:  Banana and Pear Milkshake
Lunch: Zucchini and Cottage Cheese, plus six walnut halves and 30g hard cheese
Dinner: Leek Soup + 1 small apple

The Bistro phase is a 2-3 week phase consisting of protein and fibre-rich meals. You can lose up to 3.5 to 5 kilograms in three weeks during this phase.
Sample menu
Breakfast: Black coffee, black or herbal tea in unlimited quantities with sweetener and 2 tablespoons skim milk, if desired.
Morning and afternoon tea: Black coffee, black or herbal tea in unlimited quantities with sweetener and 2 tablespoons skim milk, if desired.
Lunch: Unlimited amount of raw vegetables or salad, seasoned with unsweetened lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, shallots, garlic, herbs and spices, 
+ 85g lean meat, fish or 2 medium eggs, or equivalent protein, cooked without fat + unlimited amount of non-starchy vegetables, boiled or steamed
+ 3/4 cup non-fat plain yoghurt with sweetener if desired, or 1 cup skim milk
+ 1 piece of fruit
Dinner: Same as lunch.

The Gourmet phase is designed for enjoyment and can be continued until the desired weight loss goal is achieved. The amount of food you eat is a little bigger than the bistro phase. On average, you can expect to lose 3.5 to five kilograms in the first month, and 2.5 to four kilograms for each subsequent month. If weight loss stagnates, follow the Café or Bistro phases for a few days.
Sample menu

Breakfast: 1 slice French bread with 2 teaspoons butter + 3/4 cup plain non-fat yoghurt + 1 orange
Lunch: Beet Salad + Stuffed Veal + 1 apple
Dinner: Grapefruit, Cottage Cheese and Prawn Salad OR Roast Beef Salad + 1 slice wholegrain bread + 3/4 cup plain non-fat yoghurt

My Verdict
To be really honest, I’m not a big fan of ‘diets’. I feel they are restrictive and too much in the yo-yo zone. They can cause long-term damage to the body, which can be exhausting. Having said that, there are tips we can take from this diet, such as the portion size, cooking more food (with love) and taking time to eat meals.

And if you are going to follow any country’s eating regime, I would say follow the Mediterranean Diet, which emphasises on whole foods, plenty of fruits and veggies and non-saturated fats.

Watch my segment below from Mornings9 where I discuss the diet in more detail with David and Sonia.

What do you think about this diet? Would you try it at all?

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One response to “The Parisian Diet: How French Women Don’t Get Fat”

  1. Parisian diet is really effective. I’m doing it for years now and satisfied with my figure. BTW, the only truth about diet is that there’s no perfect diet plan and no successful weight loss program without an effective diet plan. 🙂

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