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Polyphenols in red wine and intelligent French use of herbs in cooking help to break down fats in food and aid digestion. Alcohol licensing laws in France also mean that they tend not to 'binge drink' as much as countries with more restrictive licensing laws. The anti-oxidant properties of red wine in its moderate but steady intake are a contributing factor to French health.
Research in McDonalds restaurants in France also reveals interesting evidence. It was found in America that average time it took a person to consume a burger was 11 minutes. In France this doubled to 22 minutes. In France eating is often a cultural and family activity. They take their time eating and conversation is an important part of sharing food. They make eating into a quality time. The French diet is 'Epicurean' compared to American 'convenience' diet, where cheap, snack food is widely available wherever you go. The car centred culture of America also means its inhabitants sometimes lack exercise.
The French have an attitude to eating that is not fixated on health or medicalising food, just simple enjoyment of wholesome and fresh ingredients prepared well. People in rural France often value whole process of food from growing it right through to preparing and eating. It is no surprise that internationally known French phrases include such as 'Bon appetit' or 'Joi de vivre'.
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