The French Paradox is based on a study by a scientist named Serge Renaud from Bordeaux University, France. He found that that although the French eat a diet very high in saturated fats, such as butter, cream, eggs, sausages and cheese, they have a very low rate of heart disease. In fact the French have a lower rate of heart disease than Americans!
The average French person eats about the same number of calories as the average American. However, the average French person consumes 108 grams of animal fat per day, while the average American consumes 72 grams. The French eat four times more butter, 60 percent more cheese, and three times more pork.
Despite that, the rate of deaths for heart disease for the French is only 83 per 100,000 people, compared to 115 per 10,000 people in the United States.
One theory is that the high rate of calcium in the cheese binds with the fat and prevents its absorption into the blood stream, allowing it to be excreted before it causes heart disease.
Another theory is wine. The average Frenchman drinks ten times more wine than the average American. Wine contains anti-oxidants, and contains an ingredient called resveratrol that appears to prevent damage to blood vessels and prevent clots.