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French urged to follow perfect diet and there's no room for saucisson

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French urged to follow perfect diet and there's no room for saucisson
Photo: Edsel Little/Flickr
13:20 CET+01:00
France's health watchdog has revealed the "perfect French diet" - and it's not pretty reading for fans of charcuterie or raclette.

Saucisson, red meat, and ham are pillars of the French cuisine and one of the delights of living in France for pretty much anyone who's not a vegetarian

And tucking into a "planche mixte" – a board of various processed meats and cheeses (fromage and charcuterie) – is a highlight of the Paris dining scene.

But if the French take the advice of a new health report, this culinary tradition may soon go out the window.

Indeed, national authorities are urging French people to swap pork and beef for pulses and beans with the new diet, which gives the red card to several French staples.

Using a computer algorithm, the French national agency of food and health safety ANSES has created what they called the perfect French diet, which would cover the nutritional needs of 97.5 percent of France’s population.

It then compared this ideal diet to the one actually eaten by French people, and the results didn’t look so good for the traditional French cuisine. 

They found that French people aren’t putting enough pulses (beans, lentils, chickpeas etc.) on their plates, and are wolfing down too much red meat and salty charcuterie.

READ ALSO: The Gallic grub that's surprisingly healthy

Photo: Marianne Casamance/WikiCommons

The guidelines recommend no more than 500g of red meat per week (around five portions), eating fish twice a week, and eating a maximum of 25g of charcuterie.

ANSES stressed the "necessity to considerably reduce" French consumption of charcuterie, which includes bacon, ham, sausages, pâtés and confits.

Getting the French to eat less saucisson will be a tough battle to win for the agency, apparently the French munch down 2.2 kilos of saucisson each second, which adds up to a total of 70,000 tonnes a year.

This is not the first attack on saucisson by a health organisation. In October 2015 the World Health Organisation labelled classic Gallic grub like saucisson and jambon as carcinogenic.

That provoked an angry response from some locals.

An 83-year-old Frenchman told The Local that he had survived far worse than an overdose of charcuterie so he wasn't going to stop eating meat just because the health boffins at the WHO say so.

“I survived World War Two and that didn't kill me, so to hell with what they say,” said the veteran who asked not to be named.

The new ANSES guidelines also repeated the old adage of eating at least five fruit and vegetables a day.

ANSES also advised drinking only one glass of sugary drink a day as figures show that sugar in liquid form has a tendency to increase the overall energy content. And that includes the vast array of fruit juices that the French love. 

No need to despair if you love French food, there's some Gallic grub that is particularly good for you.

by Rose Trigg

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