Eating Healthy Not All About Calorie Counting, Knowing Fat Content

Scientists from the Université Laval in Canada, Cornell University in New York and Centre de Recherche de l’Institut Paul Bocuse in Écully, France have found some fascinating information. While American appear to be obsessed with diet and calorie counting, the French are far less aware of nutritional labels. However, French obesity rates are around 12%, while American obesity rates have reached three times that amount.

Scientists interviewed more than 300 French, Quebec and American consumers with a questionnaire that was designed to see what they knew about dietary fats. French respondents said that they didn’t know the answer to 43% of the questions about dietary fats, as compared to just 4% of American respondents.

As Professor Maurice Doyon from Université Laval said when analyzing the data, “The difference among respondents’ knowledge essentially indicates that the French don’t take much of an interest in the nutrients contained in the foods they eat. The information is on the package, but they don’t read it.”

Reporting their findings in a recent edition of The British Food Journal, they found that the correlation between extensive nutritional knowledge and high obesity shows that just by focusing on nutrition does not guarantee healthy eating.

As Dr. Doyon said, “This may lead them to think of food in terms of its fat, carbohydrate, and caloric content and lose sight of the whole picture. It might be better to focus on what constitutes a healthy, complete, and balanced meal.”


James Fishman has been involved in the world of online magazines for more than 15 years. He helped launch Sunstone Online and continues to improve the magazine as site editor and administrator. His writing focuses primarily business and technology. To be in touch with James, feel free to contact him at james[at]

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