Posted by chemist on May 6, 2005, at 12:24:50
In reply to Re: chemist: alcohol? An aside..... » chemist, posted by Larry Hoover on May 4, 2005, at 8:37:46
hi lar et al....you are spot-on with the diet as the recurring theme, as it makes an appearance in almost all of these studies, even if one rules out smoking (as in cigarette) and body mass index, in general...as for the lengthy consumption of the meal, i am on the same page as you: sounds familiar but i cannot recall the source.
the review of the mediterranean diet and the French paradox by de Lorgeril et al. 2002. cardiovasular research 54, 503-515 is only marred in my opinion as having been published before the papers that link caloric restriction and the Sir2 enzyme in yeast business to long life - long quality life....
insightful nuggets implicate superior and widespread French home gardening techniques coupled with widespread good cheer as additional benefit - ``Gardening is actually very popular in France and about 30% of French adults are claimed to regularly garden. In contrast to most Western populations, for which gardening means flowers and lawns, the primary motivation of the French gardeners is to grow fruits and vegetables for familial consumption'' and ``The group associating food most with health and least with pleasure was the Americans [c: in an international study], and the group most pleasure-oriented and least health-oriented was the French'' - thus ruling out the lack of modesty as a contributing factor in lowering the risk of heart disease. (Western-style ``binge drinking on Saturday nights'' is also noted as trouble, and is compared to the superior French style - ``essentially wine, every day, during meals and rarely alone'')
back to science (and this is a nice review, all joking aside): they do cover the Greek version of the mediterranean diet (heavy on fruits and vegetables and olive oil) and the superior French version (no joke), which is defined as a non-strict vegetarian diet featuring lots of oleic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, B vitamins and little saturated and polyunsaturated fats (better because unlike the inferior Greek diet - which addresses heart disease alone - the French one features antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, blood-pressure lowering compounds, and other features). as you note, food processing is implicated as well....it does appear to be the factor...and interstingly, the role of alpha-linolenic acid in particular is noted, high being good (and yes, this would be the Lyon trial) and low being not so good (the foods representing typical of Greek and Southern Italy in the 1960s)...
finally (all from this review, an excellent read): ``Therefore, becuase they drink more moderately [c: than the males], French women do not suffer from the same alcohol-related diseases as men and their life expectancy is one of the best in the world;'' ``It was reported that the percentage of the French adult population with a high dietary diversity score [c: high score == more different kinds of foods represented] is remarkably high as compared with a similar US population (90% against 33%);'' ``Thus, in America as well as in Europe, living in the south is obviously not a protective factor in coronary heart disease [c: and no, France is not in southern Europe: Portugal, Greece, Malta, Bulgaria, and Romania are];'' ``[T]he middle-age men recruited in the Paris Prospective Study, who were active policemen, were not representative of the French male population at risk of coronary heart disease;'' and ``Interestingly, the chance of eventually dying of coronary heart disease at age 0 (zero) is not very different than the chance of eventually dying of coronary heart disease at age 65 in most European countries.'' no mention of le blanc mange...
on strike and in le havre until august, yours, chemist
> I don't know where I read this, now, but I do recall a fascinating conjecture that the French Paradox is an artefact not of the wine, nor the foods, nor an interaction between same, but instead of the dining style.
> In France, meals are a drawn out affair, often taking four or more hours (the main meal of the day). Even the idea of "courses" is of French restaurant origin, reflecting the social structure of the country itself. During those lengthy meals, wine is totally intermingled, in dribs and drabs, with a host of other ingredients, all taken in small doses over an extended period. Formalized grazing, as it were.
> In contrast, you have the American tendency to "gorge and go".
> So, is dining style a huge uncontrolled variable?
> Habitually doing one or the other might have profound effects on both fat storage and blood chemistry, quite apart from the ingredients of the foods themselves. Of course, one must not discount e.g. resveratrol, and other flavonoids, etc. (French food also tends to be much less processed than is e.g. North American.)
> Just thought I'd throw this in here.