The growth in American waistlines is definitely related to the growth in portion sizes over the past 20 to 30 years. It has happened so gradually that most of us don’t realize how much more we are really eating, or what a normal portion size should be. This confusion is so common it even has a name: “Portion Distortion.” Finally, though, people are beginning to think about portion control.
The size of restaurant meals has been increasing, as people want to get more value for their money and restaurants compete for customers. Sit-down dinners are now served on plates the size of platters. Fast food has been “supersized.” Even the new dishes you use at home are significantly larger than older plates. Bigger plates lead to bigger serving sizes, and that all adds up to extra pounds.
What does the scientific research say about portion control and serving size? The two key points are:
1. We are not very accurate in judging the amount of food we eat.
2. The bigger the portion size, the more we will eat.
So, how can we use this knowledge to lose weight? Eat mindfully and pay attention to what goes on your plate and into your mouth. In restaurants, only eat half of the food, and box up the rest to take with you. At home, using a portion control plate can help you learn proper serving size. And be patient when dieting. You did not gain weight overnight, and it will take time to lose it and get back to a healthly weight.
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