Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Argentine Paradox: How Can They Eat This Well, Yet be So Thin!

Ok.... We have been here almost five days and from best we can gather, here is the daily intake of the average porteño.

  1. Breakfast: start with cured ham, cheese, a few pastries and a few shots of espresso.

  2. Lunch: Salad, hearty pasta, Vino, more café, more pastries.

  3. Afternoon: more café, a few more pastries

  4. Early Evening (6 to 7): Tapas ( little plates of food), more pastries and of course mas café.

  5. Dinner: Late Evening (starts between 9:30 and 11:00 - even on weeknights!) Steak and wine. And we are talking massive amounts of the the best beef in the world.

The paradox? After all that food, how come porteños are so thin! There are no fat people in Buenos Aires. At least none that we have come across. Yet look at what they eat. How can that be!

Atkins folks will point out that they eat little else on their plates except the beef. Yet that is only for dinner. Every time they sit down for café, there is some sort of fattening sweet involved.

Others will point out that there are no processed foods in the porteño's diet. I have to admit that I have yet to eat anything that ADM or Monsanto has had a hold of. It has all been whole foods made from the freshest ingredients. Even the few Cokes and Sprites we have let the kids have are made from sugar and not corn syrup.

Are we in heaven? Can it be true that we can eat all this wonderful food (and I can't describe in words just how good the food is) and loose weight at the same time?

We'll keep you posted.


Angeluna said...

Hi, Susan W. sent me over to check you out. Sorry to tell you, but the Paradox you mention only seems to work for the homegrown. I lived in Paris for twenty years, watched a lot of extremely thin people eat a lot of food and not gain an ounce. Me...no pastry, cut the sauces, etc. etc. I really tried to figure it out. Lots of walking helps. And they DO NOT SNACK. No candy bars in the office drawers. But still.

I'm sure you will research this one and report back!

Anonymous said...

you have to eat milanesas !!!
and provoletaaaaaaa

Longhorn Dave said...

Milanesas... sound a lot like our beloved "Chicken Fired Steak." I will definitely have to try those! I guess those are not the secret to staying thin like the porteños either.

Unknown said...

Natural food does help but you have to pair that with walking as much as you can. This is a walking city and that does help out a lot. When I worked downtown I would walk all the time and that helped big time.

Longhorn Dave said...

Thanks for stopping by Frank. I agree that walking helps. I think after two weeks BsAs is already having an effect on my waist size for the better.... Despite eating all this great food!

Anonymous said...

There's a lot of fat people in Argentina. Maybe you haven't seen them because you haven't been to low class neighborhoods. Recoleta is high class and doesn't represent what the rest of the country is really like. If you want to get a picture of how a typical argentine lives, then you should stay away from touristy places such as Recoleta and head to the slums instead.
On the other hand, yes, many argentine women are skinny but does that really equate to healthy? I don't think so. Specially if you take into account that Argentina has one of the highest anorexia rates in the world, only second to Japan.

Longhorn Dave said...

Porteño rebelde: You are right. Since writing this early post, we have gotten out further in the other barrios and ridden the bus more. We have noticed more of a wider girth elsewhere.

However, things here are nowhere near as bad in the U.S. Things in the U.S. have gotten pretty bad. If you go to the mall in any city there all you see are fat people. It is now the norm to be overweight in the U.S. Both my wife and I, while not hefty, are over the normal weight for our heights.

Is the trend here with more overweight people fairly recent? If so, I wonder if it is due to access to more fast food and more processed food?

Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I am from BA and live in the US. Overweight here is a very serious problem, and nobody seems to care.
People in Arg. are getting fatter due to fast food, but it is not near the levels of the US. We will see what happens, but I doubt it will get there..

Longhorn Dave said...

Pablo, you are so right about no one seeming to care.

Although, living there you get so use everyone being overweight you don't notice it as much. It was only after we moved here that we noticed the contrast with how skinny everyone was here verse in the U.S.

There, everyone was overweight and that conscientiously seemed like the "norm"

Anonymous said...

I am from Argentina, and I live in Texas, & whenever I go back to my country it's so weird to see thin people, everyone here in the U.S doesn't care about being fat, they just want more food. As mentioned before, Argentina is a walking city, you rarely need a cab or anything, as well as in New York, you don't find a lot of fat people there eiteher.

Anonymous said...

I believe is the quality of the food (when I lived in Baires there was not such thing as organic, all the food was that way). I'm a porteña that lives in L.A. and I gain so much weight here. Everything has preservatives and or hormones added. Healthy food is very expensive and everywhere you go you have to pretty much drive. When I go to visit my family I eat more and loose weight. I hope you are having a blast. Check out 'El vesubio' in Avenida Corrientes. That is the first ice cream parlor of the country establish on 1905 and is even mention on a tango. They have great milanesa a caballo there. A few blocks down there is a pizzeria across the street in a corner (is pronunce in spanish pacheco, but don't know how to spell it, lol) which was establish by the creator of the fugazeta con queso. Amazing pizza but avoid lunch hour 'cause is a mad house. Best of luck :)

Anonymous said...

natural foods helps, as well as walking, but its also portion control.

It's true, you may see argentinians eat all those items you mentioned above, but I doubt that 1. argentinians eat out every day, and 2. argentinians eat that amount of food EVERY single day. In france, eating out is an occassion, then you go home and eat small portions, maybe a fruit or a yogurt for dinner and you're done (and you make up for your hearty and enjoyable meal you had at lunch or brksft or dinner).

No matter what, weight is a factor of calories in/calories out. You may see people eat out, but ask them how often they eat like that in a week, and you will have your answer.

Eric Phelan said...

This is interesting - I just googled ' why is everyone in Buenos Aires fat' and found your blog. That's right, why are they all fat? Maybe things have changed very rapidly, but I have the opposite opinion. I live in Recoleta, so it's not a class issue either. Of course, what I mean by fat is a bit different. Yes, it's true that we have many more obese people, but here, even in the gym, there are absolutely no 'fit and lean' people. It seems everyone has a belly. So while there are fewer people at the extremes, the 'average' physique is much worse here.

Anonymous said...

We are thin beacause of the mate! It really helps to lose weight