If you have been following along and reading any of my portion distortion posts, then you already know the American/Western diet is way out of portion. I have been researching diet topics not just for this blog, but also for a Nutrition course I am creating for my teenage daughter. I was a teenager in the 80’s and of course I remember not having nearly as many selections of foods, restaurants and the sizes of foods consumed today. But, I learned a couple of things in my research of this topic. 1- Portion size and serving size are not the same thing. A serving size is the recommended amount found on food labels. Portion size is how many servings the consumer chooses to consume. For example if a cereal box states the serving size is 1 cup, but the consumer chooses to eat 4 cups, then the consumer ate 4 portions of that food. 2- The second thing I learned is that serving sizes on food labels is not really based on science and what is considered healthy, but rather the consumer drives the serving size on a label. It is an average of what consumers consume over a certain number of years. Hence why a serving of soda is now 20 ounces instead of 8. This is absurd from a Health point of view. If doctors, health insurers and politicians really care about obesity like they all claim, then they need to make labels healthier advising what a serving size should look like not what consumers consume. Shame on the food industry, too!
Why should you even care? Obesity is on track to be at a rate of 1 in 3 Americans by 2030, it is 1 in 10 right now. That is an astronomical increase in just 10 years. Obesity is the precursor to so many chronic illnesses, such as Type 2 Diabetes, Cancer, HTN, Alzheimers and Heart Disease. So, did you know that educating the public to this topic only has a short term effect as most consumers will forget after 4 weeks. That means education needs to be continuous and in our faces. Trust me it’s hard, I know. Come back each week to see a new topic in the Food Matters series.
Below you will find some articles and a video expanding on this topic. You will see real data, with hard facts and charts. You will see exactly what eating these huge portions of foods are doing to our bodies, and more importantly our children’s bodies.
Now, I am not fat shaming anyone, people who are skinny can have any of the diseases I listed as well, but Obesity is the number one risk factor for all of them, and can be controlled. One study I read simply eating 100 more calories per day can add 10 pounds of fat per year to a body, Once fat is on the body it is extremely difficult to get it off, trust me. Learning the changes that need to be made before obesity strikes is the much better option.
So, what can you do?
1- Dinner plates are double the size today of what they were 20 years ago. Eat on a smaller plate, and don’t have seconds at least most nights of the week.
2- Cook your own food. So many people eat out every single day of the week for at least lunch, or dinner. A meal not made at home has on average 20-30% more calories than the same meal cooked at home. With a little planning, and some basic cooking skills even busy families can do this. Believe me I understand we fell into this pre packaged meals, and eating out rut, too, and now I regret every minute of it. That does not mean you can never eat out. We love to eat out, it is a great family time for us, especially now that one of my children no longer lives at home. But, it is just as gratifying to cook a similar meal at home and we all can still be together. If you do eat out, ask for half portions, or only eat half and take half home for another meal.
3- Don’t be fooled by advertising of the food industry. They are not out to make you healthy, they are out to make a profit. The more we eat the more they make.
4- We all love a good deal! I know I do. But, think about that deal before you splurge. Do you really need to supersize any meal? Do you need that supersize candy bar? Just because something is cheaper doesn’t mean it is a deal. Consider the future health consequences, shortened life span, as well as a longer life span with crippling unenjoyable chronic illnesses. Not to mention the cost of having these disorders.
5- Educate your family as to why these changes should and will be made. I can speak from the heart when I say getting family to come along a healthier lifestyle is not easy. It is a battle everyday.
If you would like to use any of my Health Coaching services to help you get your portions under control, use the contact form at the bottom of this post to message me for a free meet and greet.