Portion Distortion: A Giant Problem
A key way to lose weight and stay healthy is through portion control. So if extra munching is adding bulk to your middle, take note of research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which states that those who eat in smaller bites and in a slower manner, consume the least amount of food.
The science behind it also states that those who eat smaller portions better manage other aspects of their life, such as exercise, contributing to a healthier overall lifestyle. That puts you on the healthy side of the pendulum, where you’re thinking about the quality and quantity of your food and how it affects you. Others try to survive on instinct in a world where bigger is better, and where normal portion sizes are disappearing.
If you want to see how inflated our portion sizes have become, head to an antique shop. You spot a small goblet that looks designed for a child, only to be told it's a “wine glass”. "Those side plates you're looking to pick up; they're actually dinner plates. Conversely, our modern kitchens contain great expanses of china that fool us into eating more, because they must be filled, right?
Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think" calls this the size-contrast illusion. The “real danger of these kitchen traps”, he says, is that “almost every single person in the world believes they’re immune to them”.
Nutritionist Marion Nestle also remarked in her book, What to Eat: “It is human nature to eat when presented with food, and to eat more when presented with more food.” The trouble is that we are pushed more food, more often, every day." (The Guardian)
Portion sizes have increased dramatically at supermarkets, restaurants and cafes, making overeating less about a willpower issue and more about habit. We've always reached for a certain size of muffin and therefore we're biased in thinking this is the "normal' size, even if we're consuming a day's worth of calories in one meal.
In a time of food overabundance, we remain at the mercy of a giant food industry powered by the thought control of modern media. Since no one wants to buy a smaller chocolate bar for a higher price, we are offered the gigantic version at lower prices. In the end it's a democratic phenomenon - profit trumps health.
Portion control, like sizeable bosoms, are not hereditary. Perhaps we come from a meagre background and are making up for lost time. Maybe we have never learned self-control or are comfort eaters. Or perhaps we have been hoodwinked into believing whatever the media tells us. No mater, if we suffer with weight or health problems, we are doing something wrong, and we need to fix it through portion control. Try it and keep your food choices wholesome to benefit.