The French Paradox

As a culinary student, I probably shouldn't worry about this, but I do: my weight. After all, I live in New York, where it seems like there's a steady stream of fit people (and sometimes models) around every corner.

I'm not fat by any means but every time our chef throws in a little bit of butter (a quarter of a stick) or I cook my vegetables a'l'anglaise (in water with a lot of salt), I can't help but think about my weight. Plus, I have a huge appetite for a small person. Isn't it all going to catch up with me?

This brings me to the French paradox — the fact that the French don't suffer from coronary heat disease at rates like Americans or have the same weight issues as we do despite eating much saturated fats and their love of wine. A few years ago a French writer made headlines for her book "French Women Don't Get Fat."

We have talked in class about how drinking wine (the acid source) helps break down all the fat that we cook with each night. And I've actually lost weight living in New York while in culinary school. I'm amazed at the irony but it makes sense. I walk a lot more in this urban jungle, am too busy or poor to eat everything in sight and tend to eat more healthful.

Would you trust a skinny chef?