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Sunday, September 27, 2020  

Watch what you eat: portion sizes ballooning along with AmericansPublished 3/17/2003

by Mike Lee

Can’t figure out why you’re adding pounds even though you’re working double shifts. Ever think that your low energy level might be caused by something other than your daily duties on the floor.

Ever think that your plate may just be too full.

You might be right.

The Journal of the American Medical Association recently published findings of a new study that blames the exploding waistlines of many Americans on the heaping helpings placed in front of them.

The super-sizing of the American waistlines has fallen in line with the biggie-sized portions at home and at restaurants.

With March being National Nutrition Month Exempla Lutheran Medical Center Dietitian Mark Englick, MS, RD, CDE, says it’s a good time to get a good look at exactly how much you’re eating. Most people don’t how much they really should eat.

"I don’t think they do," Englick said. "I remember when the Food Pyramid came out and said you needed 6-10 grams of grains a day and people said ‘I’ll never eat that much.’ Then they find out their bagel is 9 grams."

Englick said she lived in France for seven months. Eating there was totally different from what it is here.

Englick said while it’s true the French eat higher fat foods with the rich sauces and creamy cheeses, meals are approached differently.

"Those portions are very small," she said. "When you come back to the U.S. you’re blown away. It’s one of those things that you don’t really know until you go somewhere else.

Englick said restaurant portions are normally double what you are supposed to eat at any given time.

She suggests reducing the temptation. Next time you decide to go out to lunch with co-workers trying sharing a meal. If you’re diving into that bowl of past solo, separate it in two before your begin. Ask for a doggie bag up front.

You can always eat it later and that way you truly are getting your money’s worth out of that $8.95 entrée.

And when you’re famished and on break, don’t woof down the last few pieces of pizza left in the box in the breakroom. Take your time or just don’t eat as much. You’ll thank yourself later.

The body needs 20 minutes for the sugar level to rise to make you feel full. Anything less than that and you’re probably eating more than you need.

Another tip is snack at regular intervals. The food will keep your blood sugar up, keeping you from feeling famished.

And when heading to the buffet Englick says watch out.

Englick says eyeball the buffet first and choose what you like. Make sure your foods have clear perimeters on your plate and aren’t just heaped together.

"Part of eating healthful is eating foods that look good," Englick said. "When you eat less you enjoy the food more. You don’t have to eat a lot to enjoy it."

The study pointed out the serving size of an average soft drink has increased from 13 ounces and 144 calories to 20 ounces and 193 calories. The average cheeseburger has morphed from 5.8 ounces to 7.3 ounces, swelling from 397 to 533 calories.

Small changes you make can really add up to fight the super-size scenario.

Water is key. Drinking at least 64 ounces a day helps your metabolism and your skin. It helps you feel full

Cutting back on the mayor and the butter will help, too. You don’t need the extra fat and you can find flavor from other sources.

Fried foods should only be indulged in once or twice a week.

Skip the sugar in your coffee or tea, or at least limit the amount you put in.

Trying ordering half portions at restaurants.

Never eat out of a bag or box. You eat a lot more when you don’t see it coming.

Englick says stop and think before you eat. You’ll respect yourself after you get off your shift.

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