What I Think About the French Paradox — As a Nutritional Sciences PhD

The French Paradox is a phenomenon describing why heart disease deaths were lower than would be estimated in the French population during the early 1990s despite a high intake of animal products like butter and cheese. This idea is interesting because these types of foods are classically understood to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease yet this was not what the researchers who coined the term “French Paradox” observed.

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Why could this be? Are we wrong about which foods increase heart disease risk? Is there something unique about butter and cheese that prevents heart disease? Is something else in the French diet…like wine, protective?

I am always scouring the latest articles published in nutrition journals to find interesting new research on diet and health. Sometimes, I find studies like these two below that advertise striking findings, but actually, turn out to be all smoke and mirrors.

Two recent nutrition studies separately suggested that A) vegan diets can be useful for weight loss and B) egg consumption is associated with type 2 diabetes. Although the results of these studies agree with those themes, what these studies DO NOT show is that C) Vegan diets are superior to other diets for weight loss or optimal health and D) Any mechanism or proof that egg consumption causes type 2 diabetes.

One of the serious flaws with the standard American diet is that it lacks both richness and variety of nutrients. One of these nutrients is the amino acid, glycine. Glycine is not considered essential in the diet but one scientific report demonstrated that our requirement for glycine is higher than our capacity to make it ourselves (1).

Why might a low-glycine diet be a problem and how can you increase glycine intake? I’ll take you through the science below.

Glycine — introduction

Glycine is an amino acid that falls into the “conditionally essential” category. This means we can synthesize glycine on our own, but in some cases like when recovering from a tissue injury, the demand for glycine might be imbalanced with the supply, resulting in a nutritional inadequacy. …

These days, we can go to the supermarket and pick out strawberries in December and cauliflower in July. I find this amazing, bizarre, and horrifying at the same time. I mean, it’s stunning, but can we really expect strawberries to be as delicious in December as they were in April? Many of us enjoy the large variety of produce at the supermarket and the ability to have the vegetables we want, whenever we want them.

However, I think that this constant availability comes at a price, the most important of which, is causing us to become more disengaged with our food than ever before. …

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