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Trimming Portions Will Cut Obesity

Posted Feb 17 2013 8:47pm

saladplate From Your Health Journal…..”A very good article by By Cass R. Sunstein from Bloomberg News via The Lowell Sun entitled Trimming portions will cut obesity. Many times on this blog, we discuss how many children eat portions to big for their size – as they eat ‘adult size’ portions. The same can apply to adults, as they are eating portions to big for their size as well. Almost 70 percent of Americans have been overweight or obese in recent years, and more than 78 million people in the country have been counted as obese. Many people are eating whatever is placed in front of them, and not stopping when they are full – rather, they indulge until stuffed. Many times, it is best to take a break when the ‘full’ feeling starts, and see if you are satisfied after a few minute break. Please take the time to read the complete article, as it is well written and informative.”

From the article…..

Almost 70 percent of Americans have been overweight or obese in recent years, and more than 78 million people in the country have been counted as obese.

The problem has many sources, but one of them is obvious: increased portion sizes. We have a lot of evidence that people will eat whatever is put in front of them, even if they aren’t hungry. As portion sizes expand, waistlines expand as well.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average U.S. restaurant meal is more than five times larger than it was in the 1950s. The average hamburger, once less than 4 ounces, is now more than 12 ounces. The average order of French fries, once less than 3 ounces, is now more than 6 ounces. There is a clear correlation between increases in portion sizes and increases in obesity.

That correlation helps explain why obesity has been more prevalent in the United States than in France. The French eat high-calorie food, but their portion sizes are smaller. In supermarkets and restaurants, and in portion sizes recommended in cookbooks, Americans are given significantly bigger servings. Even at McDonald’s, where we might expect identical sizes, servings of soda and French fries have been found to be larger in Philadelphia than in Paris.

Brian Wansink, a Cornell University professor of consumer behavior, helps to explain why portion sizes have such a large effect. He finds that much of our eating is mindless or automatic in that we tend to eat whatever is in front of us. If you are given a half-pound bag of M&M’s, chances are that you will eat about half as much as you will if you are given a one- pound bag. People who receive large bowls of ice cream eat a lot more than those who get small bowls.

In one of Wansink’s fiendish experiments, people were provided with a large bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup and told to eat as much as they liked. Unbeknownst to them, the soup bowls were engineered to refill themselves (with empty bottoms connected to machinery beneath the table). No matter how much soup the subjects ate, the bowl never emptied. The result? Soup consumption skyrocketed. Many people just kept eating until the experiment was ended.

To read the full article….. Click here

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