New research shows that portion control is important when you’re trying to lose weight.
And it makes sense when you think about it…
When we eat a meal, messages are sent from our body to our brain and from our brain to our body.
The messages from our body are important to listen to!
Our taste buds may tell our brain how pleasant the flavors are.
Enjoying tastes and textures are important to having a satisfying meal.
It takes about 20 minutes for our brain to recognize that our body’s needs have been met, and we are no longer hungry.
This is important so that we don’t overeat.
The messages from our brain to our body can be confusing.
It’s good if we listen to our brain telling us we’re full and to stop eating.
Sometimes our brain may send messages that relate to our mental/emotional needs rather than physical needs.
For example, the sight of food may have your brain thinking: “I can’t leave this much food on my plate and waste it;”
or “I had a bad day, and ice cream will make me feel better.”
If it’s a special treat made by a loved one, your brain may say: “I can’t hurt my nun’s feelings and not eat her cake.”
The messages we get when consuming a meal are important to listen to.
We also need to be aware of which address physical needs, and which address emotional needs.
Physically, our body needs food to obtain essential nutrients without excess calories, so that we can reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Emotional needs can be taken care of without food.
Did you know that only 7% of the French population is obese compared to 30% of all Americans (having a BMI of 30 or greater)? Research shows that this is mostly attributed to portion size differences.
A study compared the portion sizes of foods in Paris to the portions of foods in America.
Researchers compared similar fast food chains, ice cream parlors, pizza shops and ethnic restaurants.
The average portion in America was 25% larger than in Paris.
They also found that Chinese restaurants in America served meals 72% larger than Chinese restaurants in Paris.
In supermarkets, a candy bar was found to be 41% larger, soft drinks were 52% larger, and hot dogs were 63% larger in America than the same items in Paris.
Even a nutritious yogurt was 82% larger!
American cookbooks were compared to French versions.
They found that American recipes yield larger portions than the French versions.
The results of this study further stress the importance of practicing portion sizing to control weight.
It also reflects the fact that people can be satisfied with less, but American culture encourages us to want more.
While the focus here is portion size, nutritious choices are just as important to one’s health.
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