The French paradox explained
Why the French, although they eat more fat than Americans, are they suffering fewer heart problems?
And the explanation that is given, and supported by winemakers of all countries is that the French drink a lot of red wine, which contains polyphenols, which helps suppress bad cholesterol. An explanation not absolutely confirmed by the statistics.
It is known that consumption of red wine in small quantities, with resveratrol it contains, provides antioxidants, which is beneficial to health in general and particularly against the bad cholesterol.
Wine consumption in the world, (all varieties included) gives the following classification:
To consider only the most important countries. It is more than the double in France than in Romania.
For the death rate from heart attacks, here is the ranking of countries, with the number of deaths per 100 000 inhabitants:
- Hungary: 192.
- Ireland: 152.
- New Zealand: 127.
- U.K.: 122.
- Norway: 112.
- Australia: 110.
- United States: 106.
- Italy: 65.
- Portugal: 55.
- Spain: 53.
- France: 40.
- Japan: 30.
Source NationMaster. Note that the number of deaths does not match the number of heart attacks because they can be treated.
The comparison tables show that, apart from Hungary (which was probably an inadequate health system), countries where more wine is consumed are more spared than others. But there is no direct correlation, and other factors may be considered.
For example, quality olive oil (first cold pressed), which is often consumed in the region of southwestern France and other mediterranean countries, has its benefits, as well as oils rich in Omega 3 (olive oil contains little). Fish consumption is also something that provides Omega 3 intakes and reduces the consumption of meat and therefore bad fats.
For cardiovascular problems themselves, other explanations are also considered.
Carbohydrates, which are stored as fat by the metabolism would also be as bad for the cardiovascular system as fats consumed directly. Recent studies tend to support the idea of the harmful effect of sugar as fat. This is the conclusion of this study (PDF): cardiovascular risks are not related to saturated fat but carbohydrates (sugars). However saturated fats contribute much to the increase in bad cholesterol.
The conclusion of the study is that if we want to reduce vascular risks, we must reduce both saturated fats and sugars, not just the first.
And it turns out that Americans tend to snack constantly, eating while watching television, which promotes a sugar excess supply. Sugar also tends to invade regular meals with food such as ketchup.
The French paradox is resolved in fact with what is known about the diet compared to France and the United States: on the one hand feeding at set times and balanced diet, even if there is too much butter and oil, and the other diet disjointed with lots of sugar and too large food portions.