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Why Americans Are Fatter Than Canadians

I’m currently in Calgary, Canada, pondering the question: “Why are Americans significantly fatter than Canadians?”

My good friend Roger Haeske (, long-term raw-foodist and fitness enthusiast, is in Toronto right now and just sent an ezine to his mailing list on why he thinks Canadians are slimmer than Americans.

According to Roger, Canadians are thinner because of portion sizes, but more importantly because of French influence and culture, where it’s less socially acceptable to be overweight.

Now being French-Canadian myself, I can tell you that there’s not that much French influence outside of Quebec, at least not any positive one when it comes to diet. The most commonly known French-Canadian dish Canadians outside of Quebec know is called “Poutine”, which is a junk food concoction of French fries, gravies and cheeese curd.

I wouldn’t say that most Canadians are in great health, but we have about 15% less overweight people here.

Why is that?

It turns out that there is actually only one way to get overweight: eat more total calories than your body needs.

For example, for a long time scientists were puzzled by what they called the “French Paradox”.

As you probably know, the French pretty much invented gourmet cuisine, and traditional French food is very high in fat, with a lot of butter being used. Yet in spite of all of this heavy food, the French stay thin and have much lower rates of heart disease.

At first, they thought it must be all the wine that that they’re drinking that’s protecting them. But actually modern research shows that there is no “paradox”.

The French stay thin because they eat less food. They may make rich food, but the portion sizes are pretty small. Also, traditionally, people in France eat actual meals with no snacks in between.

It used to be believed that thin people metabolized food faster than overweight people. But when researchers actually measured accurately what those two groups ate in a day, they found that there is actually only one main reason why thin people stay thin: they eat fewer calories.

The reason people used to think other factors were at play was because whenever researchers would ask overweight people what they ate in a day, they would always under-estimate what they actually did eat.

When they finally decided to follow people around and take pictures of what they ate, they found that fat people ate more calories than they needed, compared to thin people.

But fat people thought they ate less than they actually did, whereas thin people were pretty accurate in remembering what they ate.

Recently I was in Hawaii, and after the trip came back to Canada.

After two days in Vancouver I realized something shocking. Not only did we rarely see anyone obese there, but I also noticed that fast food restaurants were much less common.

In Hawaii, even on the remote island of Kauai, fast food is everywhere. Chains like McDonalds, KFC, Jack in the Box, Taco Bell and others are at every street corner.

In Vancouver, most of the restaurants are ethnic restaurants like Japanese and Indian. There is of course fast food restaurants, but you have to walk quite a few blocks before you find a McDonald’s.

In the US, I also noticed that portions of food are much bigger. Just looking at what people ate at a food court, I would say that portion sizes are about 20 to 25% smaller in Canada.

In America, it’s very easy to become overweight. Just eat out, and finish what’s on your plate.

Read the book “The End of Overeating”, and you’ll find out the shocking truth about the obesity situation in the USA. This book describes exactly why people overeat, with a lot of science to back it up.

Essentially, it comes down to three things:

Sugar, Fat, and Salt.

When you eat foods that are high in sugar, fat and salt, your reward centers in the brain go crazy, and you want to eat more of it.

You eat more of it for the simple reason that it tastes really, really good, and your body is designed to seek these delicious, high-calorie foods.

If you just eat sugar on its own, for example by eating pure white sugar, then there’s a limit to what you can eat. Eventually you hit the point were more sugar is just nauseating.

But if you combine sugar with fat, for example in chocolate or ice-cream, then you’ll want to eat much more of it than you need.

If you combine all three elements together: sugar, fat and salt, then your brain literally goes crazy and wants more and more. For example: French fries (complex carbs with oil and salt).

It’s funny that in the raw food movement, chefs want to imitate the very foods that are making people sick and fat.

If raw-foodists make a fruit smoothie, they want to add a bunch of fat to it (like nuts or coconut oil).

If they make a salad, they have to drench it in avocados and oil, and add more salt on top of it, and hopefully something sweet to excite the senses.

And what about the latest sensation: kale chips, which are nothing more than fat and salt, eaten on top of a meal made with more fat, salt and sugar.

Now there’s one way to reach your ideal weight without even changing your diet: simply eat less of it.

But in our world today, with all these high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt foods available everywhere, it’s extremely difficult to do.

Plus, being overweight is not the only consequence of the American diet. You have to think about all the diseases that are caused by it.

The best way to achieve your ideal weight is to only eat foods you can eat in unlimited quantities: such as fruits and vegetables. Limit or eliminate high-fat foods such as oil, nuts, seeds and avocados, because fat is easier to store in the body than carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are what we need the most, so make sure you eat plenty of fruit, and if you must some complex carbs like potatoes, but make sure you don’t combine these carbs with a lot of fat.

To discover exactly how to eat a raw food diet to achieve your ideal weight and health, make sure you check out my Raw Health Starter Kit at:

We’ve just added a completely new book to the Starter Kit, “The Raw Vegan Coach: Answers to Your Questions on the Low-Fat, Raw Food Diet”.

That’s in addition to all of the books and DVDs already in the package.

Note that the price of the Starter Kit will eventually be increased because the total value is very high, so make sure you order it now while it’s still at the same price. Check it out at:

Yours for health and success,


Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.