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Size Does Really Matter
Eating a healthy diet does not only mean eating nutritious food but it also refers to eating the right amount of food. If the volume of your food intake is more than what you really need, then the chances of your gaining weight are more.
Welcome to portion distortion, an increasingly common disorder caused by the fact that food sizes are two to five times larger than they were in the past. Dinner plates are larger and restaurants serve obscene amounts of food. Experts say it all adds up to more calories, part of the reason that people are fatter than ever.

The problem is two-fold: Most people have a skewed sense of what constitutes a "normal" portion size-the terms "small," "medium" and "large" are outdated and meaningless.

"When presented with more food, youll eat more, even if you dont finish it," said Lisa Young, a New York nutrition consultant.

Rather than "super-sizing" foods, Young advocates "smart-sizing," or learning portion-size awareness. The concept is gaining credence and popularity among registered dietitians and nutritionists.

"The problem is you pay less per kilo for the bigger size, so there is a tendency to buy bigger and more," Young said. "Dont be lured by the bargain. At the end of the day, your health is the best bargain you have."

The idea is that once you can "see" the amounts you should be eating, and you know approximately how much you need each day, its easier to prevent overeating. Jim Painter, the chair of the school of family and consumer sciences, is adamant that portion-size awareness is a key to controlling weight. Painter recommends two main strategies for portion control. One is to avoid "the bargain" while ordering or shopping for food.

Another key is to write down what you eat before you eat it, Painter said. Dont add it up, dont count the fat grams. Just write it down. The simple act can keep people from snacking, he said.

So here is how to smart-size your food:
In a restaurant
If youre dining with someone, share an entree and a salad. Order appetizers or "half-size" portions.
Get the doggie hag before the meal; when the food arrives, put half of it away.
Always order extra vegetables.
Use your hand or other objects for visual reference. A portion of cheese is about the size of your thumb. Your fist is about 1 cup or one serving of raw vegetables. A serving of fish should be the size of a deck of cards.
Avoid buffets, family-style restaurants or all-you-can eat deals. Forget about the bargain.
Steer clear of dishes that include the words "large", "giant," "mega" and "jumbo."

At home
Dont eat out of the bag or container-make yourself see how much youre eating.
Write down everything you eat before you eat it.
Dont leave food on the counter, and close an open food bag.
Eat foods with built-in stopping points, like bite-size candy bars or individually packaged things.
Buy smaller packages of food. Try not to think about the bargain. Youll end up paying more in terms of weight gain.
Portion out single servings of, say, a large bag of tortilla chips into storage bags. If the bag says 10 servings, use 10 bags.
Dont buy something for tomorrow. If its around, youll eat it. If you want it tomorrow, youll get it tomorrow.

More smart-sizing
Most people need just two cups of fruits and three cups of vegetables from two important food groups.
To get two cups of fruit, drink one cup of orange juice at breakfast and eat a base-ball-sized apple at lunch. Thats it. Or slice up a banana for your cereal and snack on a light bulb-sized pear. Youre done.
Nutritional superstars include blueberries, kiwi fruit, citrus and melons, while fruit juices, dried fruits and canned fruits in syrups should be limited, according to Lisa Young, author of The Portion Teller: Smartsize Your Way to Permanent Weight Loss.
For three servings of vegetables, put tomato and cucumber on your salad and eat a baseball-sized serving of broccoli.
Or eat 12 baby carrots, drink eight ounces of V8 and have a cup of veg soup.
But dont stop there. If theres one food that should be super-sized, its non-starchy vegetables, especially asparagus, broccoli, red peppers and spinach.
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Posted on : 29/10/2005
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