The French tend to consume a lot of fresh vegetables and fruit. Additionally, they like to consume organ meats (brains, kidney and liver) and cheese, which are typically high in cholesterol.
In the southern part of the country, the food is healthier and is considered a “Mediterranean diet” — the food is prepared using olive oil, fresh fruits and vegetables with no cream or butter.
Local “Unhealthy” Foods
- Cheese (big part of diet and very high in fat)
- Foie gras (goose pâté)
- Butter (used to cook in most parts of France)
- Organ meats (high in cholesterol)
- Rich, creamy sauces (used in many French dishes)
Local “Healthy” Foods
- Local fruits/vegetables
- Southern/Mediterranean French cuisine is much lighter as olive oil is used over butter
Nut Allergy Alert
Nuts are not used much in French cuisine, but can possibly be found in various desserts. Peanuts are not used in French cuisine and peanut butter is not consumed. A similar chocolate-hazelnut product called “Nutella” is used widely, however.
Availability of Specialty Foods
- Available at most large stores
- Available at specialty stores
- Not readily available
Kosher and Halal Foods
A small selection of American products can be found in most supermarkets, but they are quite expensive.
Restaurant Chains with “Healthy” Options
No specific chains, but locally owned restaurants offer healthy choices.
Nutritional Information on Food
All packaged foods require nutritional information; the information is slightly difficult to understand.
Weight Loss Companies
Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig exist nationwide as weight loss is very important in France. Private physicians are also used.
Vitamins are not used as often as in the US. Some require a prescription and can only be purchased in pharmacies (not supermarkets).
Health Food Stores
La Vie Claire is a popular chain as well as independent stores.
Medical Professionals Who Aid in Nutrition
Nutritionists and dieticians exist, yet dieticians work almost exclusively in hospitals while nutritionists are more common in private practice.
Country-wide Obesity Rate12.5% of population