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MissouriFamilies.org - Food and Fitness

 

Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Weight Control

 

The Downside of Supersize

Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D., 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% are now considered "overweight." The rise in obesity among our youth is especially alarming because we are now seeing a type of diabetes - Type II - 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 - thanks in large part to working women who choose to go out to eat rather than starting a second job over the stove - 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 "super-size" 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: www.aicr.org 

 

 

 

 

Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009

 

 

 


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