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Publication: Diet Buddy
Portion Control! Part-1

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         Diet Buddy - Monday, April 16, 2007

Portion Control!  Part-1

Hi There Buddies...

Portion sizes these days are way out of control for many 
people.  We seem to be overeating as much as 500 calories 
or more a day compared to what we were eating about 20 
years ago.  Now that would definitely explain why as a 
whole, Americans have gained all this weight over the 

What seems like an average meal to most of us today, is 
actually super-sized by many eateries including fast food 
places, delis, restaurants and even at home where we also 
seem to have adopted a distorted view regarding what  
"normal" servings should be. "Portion distortion", or 
perceived large portion sizes as appropriate amounts in 
one sitting, has had an increasingly negative affect on 
our weight, as well as creating serious health issues.  

As Lynn Grieger, RD, CDE from iVillage explains... twenty 
years ago, the regular serving size of coffee - eight 
ounces of java, with whole milk and sugar - contained 45 
calories, the same amount found in 13 M&M's.  Today, a 
16-ounce cup of mocha coffee - with steamed whole milk 
and mocha syrup - has a whopping 350 calories, equivalant 
to 103 M&M's. As coffee drinks grow in size and variety, 
so does their calorie content... and our waistlines. 
Research shows that adding a little syrup and doubling 
the serving size of our favorite cup of joe can make us 
gain 22 pounds in just one year. And that's just from 

You've no doubt encountered one of the Frisbee-size cookies 
strategically placed next to the cash register at delis and 
quick stops.  Did you know that those cookies are 700 times 
bigger than a standard cookie?  Virtually every kind of 
food is now larger than it used to be; Muffins are 333 
percent larger; pasta servings, 450 percent larger; and 
bagels, 200 percent bigger than they were 20 years ago. 

Today let's start reducing portion sizes by judging the 
amount we eat with our eyes and the dishware that we use... 


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Reining In Portion Sizes!

We eat with our eyes, not our stomach, according to Brian 
Wansink, PhD, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab 
at Cornell University.  His research suggests that we eat 
what we serve, and that by using larger bowls, plates and 
serving spoons we automatically indulge in larger portions. 

If you're tired of calorie counting and mindless overeat-
ing, try these 5 simple tips to eat less effortlessly with-
out feeling deprived: 

1. Scoop Out The Calories - Use two-ounce (1/4 cup) serving 
   spoons for casseroles, rice, potatoes and scooped 
   desserts such as ice cream and pudding.  Wansink found 
   that even nutrition professionals served themselves 14.5 
   percent more ice cream when using a four-ounce scoop 
   versus a two-ounce scoop.

2. Sip From Tall, Narrow Glasses - There's something about 
   height that makes us think we're getting a larger 
   portion.  In a recent study, bartenders were asked to 
   pour the same amount of liquid into short, wide glasses 
   and tall, narrow glasses.  Sure enough, they poured 20.5 
   percent more liquid into the short, wide glasses.

3. Use Small Serving Bowls - In another study, graduate 
   students were asked to serve themselves Chex Mix or 
   roasted nuts from large or small serving bowls. Results 
   showed that participants ate 56 percent more from the 
   large bowls. This may be due to the fact that a handful 
   from a small bowl "looks" like an appropriate portion 
   size but a handful from a larger bowl may seem too 
   small. Pair a smaller serving bowl with a smaller 
   serving spoon and you'll have a double winner. 

4. Choose Small Plates - If you serve a half cup of mashed 
   potatoes on an 11-inch plate, it will look like a very 
   small portion.  Serve that same half cup of mashed 
   potatoes on a 9-inch plate though, it will look just 
   right.  Switch to smaller plates to eliminate overeating 
   for good.

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5. Use Specially Desinged Plates And Bowls - Want to trim 
   down the calorie content of your next meal?  Try these 
   tools to help you reinforce realistic portion sizes... 

*  The Perfect Portion Weight Loss System - contains a 
   plastic plate with visual guidelines to divide foods 
   into the ideal portion sizes for different meals. 

*  The Portion Doctor - offers a variety of plates, bowls 
   and drinking glasses clearly marked for recommended 
   portion sizes.

*  Fit & Fresh - offers a food scale for measuring correct 
   portion sizes. The company also offers high-tech 
   plastic containers perfect for taking breakfast, lunch 
   or dinner on the go. Detachable ice packs keep food 
   cold, and compartments within the containers help keep 
   foods separate. 

(These can be found on the internet.)

How Big Is Your Dinner Plate?

A standard dinner plate was 10 inches in diameter 30 years 
back, but many are now 12 inches - with 40 percent more 
room for food!  While measuring your food portions, measure 
your plates and dishes as well.  If yours are too big, 
it's time to purchase new, smaller dishes to help rein in 
expanding portions.

Recommendations Are:

10-inch dinner plate

8-inch lunch plate

5.5-ounce cereal or soup bowl

6.5-ounce beverage glass

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Use Your Hands!

It's not convenient to carry measuring cups all the time, 
but your hands are always available!  Use these comparisons 
to estimate portion sizes when you're eating out or at a 
friends's house:

*  A woman's fist or a baseball -  one cup serving of 
   vegetables or fruit.

*  A rounded hand - about one-half cup cooked or raw 
   veggies or cut fruit, a piece of fruit, or one-half cup 
   cooked rice or pasta; also a good measure for a snack 
   serving, such as chips or pretzels. 

*  A deck of cards or the palm of your hand (don't count 
   your fingers!) - a three-ounce serving of meat, fish or 

*  A golf ball or a large egg - one quarter cup dried fruit 
   or nuts.

*  A tennis ball - about one cup of ice cream, potato, 
   pasta or rice.

*  A computer mouse - about the size of a small baked 

*  A compact disk - about the size of one serving of 
   pancake or small waffle.

*  A thumb tip - about one teaspoon of peanut butter or 

*  A ping-pong ball - two tablespoons of peanut butter or 
   salad dressing.

*  Four dice - one ounce of cheese. 


And you thought you were eating normal everyday meals. When 
you read through some of the measurements above you might 
be inclined to think they're for the birds, not people! 
That just shows how distorted our view of a normal portion 
size has become. We can change that by adjusting our plate 
size and becoming visually aware of the foods we eat. 

Did You Know ???

That over 71 percent of our total calorie intake is 
determined by the size and shape of our dishes, bowls, 
cups, and serving spoons.

Having a problem with your portion control? Get some help 
in our Diet Buddy Forum at... Diet Buddy Forum

Next week we'll continue with Portion Control! Part-2

Have a great week everyone !!!

Disclaimer: Since I am not a medical professional any 
statements in this column are strictly based on research I 
have done and should not be misconstrued as medical advice. 

          GopherCentral's Question of the Week 

        Who is your favorite Presidential candidate?

Please take a moment to share your opinion, visit: 
Question of the Week
Questions...Comments...? email us at: Email Libby


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