Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Weight Control
The Downside of Supersize
Melinda Hemmelgarn, MS, RD, former Nutritional Sciences Specialist, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri
The supersizing of portions and plates is one of the major factors
contributing to the supersizing of Americans. Over 60 percent of Americans are now considered
overweight. The rise in obesity among our youth is especially alarming
because we are now seeing a type of diabetes (type 2) in children
that was previously seen only in overweight adults. However, the other
significant factor contributing to obesity is our sedentary society.
Keep in mind that we will store any extra calories that we don't burn!
The problem with restaurant supersizes is that when we are served
more food, we eat more food. With close to half of the food dollar being
spent on food away from home, it's easy to see why our waistlines have been expanding over
the past couple of decades. Restaurant food and processed foods are
typically higher in calories, sodium, fat and sugar than similar foods
prepared at home.
Caloric excess and the resulting obesity is not only a risk factor
for diabetes and heart disease, it is also a significant risk factor
for cancer. So it makes sense to practice the following strategies for
smart, leaner living:
- Eat at home more often
- Use smaller plates (less food will look like more)
- Eat slowly; pay attention to feelings of hunger and satiety
- Stop eating when comfortably full, but not stuffed
- Ask for a doggie bag in restaurants
- Share an entree
- Avoid buffets, fast food and especially the supersized specials
- Use low-fat dairy products
- Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains – they fill us up on less calories and they are loaded with health-promoting nutrients.
For more information on serving sensible-sized portions, visit the American Institute of Cancer Research website.
Last update: Monday, October 12, 2015