RSSMindless eating may explain your waistline

Posted on Mon, 1 Feb 10

Mindless eating may explain your waistline

What have been supersized. Supermarket large sizes increased 10-fold between 1970 and 2000, in restaurants large portions are 250% larger than regular portions and the size of our plates, bowls and glasses have increased over the years. In fact the average dinner plate has increased by 36% since 1960. Making simple changes to your eating environment is an easy way to reduce portion sizes and your waistline, mindlessly.

Portion distortion

What we consider a "normal" serving size is in fact dictated by important elements of our eating environment, in particular larger packages in grocery stores, larger portions in restaurants, and larger kitchenware in homes. Although we are quick to dismiss that something so simple could be causing us to overeat. In one study 94% of dinners denied that larger packages and plates caused them to overeat even when shown that they ate 31% more food.

Misjudged meals

Another problem with large portion sizes is that it becomes increasingly difficult to gauge how much we are actually eating as the serving size increases. As Brian Wansink from Cornell University points out “it does not matter how accurate or how diligent a person is at estimating calories, larger portions can obscure any such changes, leading people to eat past the point where they wish they would have stopped.”

The non-diet diet

Knowing all of this is not going to help you. The best way to decrease your serving sizes is to make changes to your food environment now. Some easy solutions are to buy smaller sizes when shopping or divide larger packages into smaller serving size portions when returning home. When eating out order two entrees instead of a main, or have half the dinner packed in a doggy bag. Replace large tableware with smaller plates, bowls, and glasses and use smaller serving bowls and serving spoons. By making these changes you can avoid subtle overeating and even lose weight, without even thinking about it.



Wansink B, van Ittersum K. Portion size me: downsizing our consumption norms.  J Am Diet Assoc. 2007 Jul;107(7):1103-6.

Tags: Mindless Eating, Portion Size, Overweight, Obesity, Weight Loss, Appetite

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