Archive for the tag - portions

People Eat Larger Portions of “Healthy” Food. [Study]

small-portion1If a food is labelled healthy, do you give yourself a free pass to overindulge? According to a recent study, you’re not alone.

The study, commissioned by Ireland’s Safefood agency, examined the relationship between consumer eating habits and product packaging/marketing. When participants were asked to serve themselves appropriate-sized portions of “healthy” and regular food brands, the participants both served larger portions of the so-called healthy foods and underestimated the caloric content.

Of course, this study brings to light what food marketers already know. According to Dr. Cliodhna Foley Nolan, the director of Human Health and Nutrition at Safefood:

Foods are marketed as being healthier for a reason, because food producers believe, and they correctly believe, that those labels will influence us to eat their products and perhaps eat more of their products.

Marketing a food product with health claims will not only get consumers to buy that product – but it will also get consumers to eat more of the product. In other words, it means more money and bigger profits for the companies producing these foods.

The moral of the story is two-fold.

First and foremost, don’t believe claims on product packaging. Instead, review the nutrition information and ingredients for real insight.

Second, review your portion size against the product’s serving size. Even if a product is truly healthy, it’s still not an excuse to overeat. If your body takes in more calories than it needs, then those excess calories will be stored as body fat – regardless of where they came from.

The bottom line: “Healthy” isn’t a license to overeat.

Being Healthy Doesn’t Always Mean Eating Less.

Stop starving yourself and indulge in the delicious abundance of healthy and nourishing foods available to you!

I dedicate this post to my many body-conscious gay friends who think they’re doing themselves a favor by going all day on just “half a bagel.” You know who you are. ๐Ÿ˜›

It’s time to settle another health and fitness misconception. There is a pervasive belief that living a healthy lifestyle necessitates eating very little.

While a restricted diet and portion control can be an important aspect of a weight loss routine, it doesn’t mean that tiny, unappealing portions are a requirement for all people looking to be healthy, strong or even well-defined. In fact, even though it may seem counter-intuitive, eating too little often results in weight gain due to the effects of starvation on the body’s metabolism.

People are always astounded by the copious quantities of food that I consume. They often ask, “How can you eat that much food and look the way you do?” I answer that in order to look the way I do, I need to eat the way that I eat. Though prolific in quantity, I don’t eat everything in sight. In fact, I’m very careful about the foods that I eat.

In order to power myself through my my daily workouts, a lot of fuel is required by my body. You can’t fly a jet across the ocean on a few gallons of gas, and our bodies are the same way. Almost everything that I eat is connected to my fitness goals – though I do allow myself some wiggle room.

Of course, not all foods are created equal. I look for lean, high-quality protein options that are low in sodium. I get my daily requirements of fruits and veggies. And to stay lean, I don’t overindulge in carbohydrates. Though I eat a lot, it provides my body exactly what it needs. Moreover, I allow my body to enjoy the abundance that this Earth has to offer.

There are many, many delicious and nourishing options available – it’s just a matter of connecting your meal plan to your fitness goals. I hope this comes as welcome news for people serving life sentences of tiny, pea-sized portions of cardboard food. Live, and eat!

How to Use Portion Control.

We know that when it comes to portions, size matters. It’s easy to talk about portion control tips, like taking just a few bites of dessert or eating off of smaller dinner plates – but applying that advice is another thing altogether.

Most mornings, my breakfast includes a bowl of cereal. I reach for whatever bowl is available, and then add my cereal and milk. I have two different size bowls: one is 6 inches and the other is 8 inches.

Today, I wondered if my cereal is subject to the large plate theory. The theory goes something like this:

  1. Portions look smaller on larger plates, so…
  2. We put more food on larger plates, so…
  3. We end up eating a greater quantity of food.

The takeaway is that by opting for a smaller plate, we will consume less food. Simple enough.

To test it out, I added my typical serving size of cereal to both the 6-inch and 8-inch bowls. To be honest, the amounts looked fairly similar. But then I took out my measuring cup. As it turns out, I put an extra 3/4 of a cup of cereal (equivalent to 150 calories – or roughly 12 minutes on the treadmill) in the 8-inch bowl. My larger bowl contained a 33% larger portion of cereal.

For me, there are a two morals of the story. First, the large plate theory is very much true. Second, it’s critically important to apply abstract advice and tips to concrete instances in each of our lives. Reading tips is one thing. Living them is another. ๐Ÿ™‚

How to Eat French Fries and Stay Fit. Sorta.

No, you didn’t read the headline wrong. Yes, it is possible to eat french fries and stay fit.

Back in 2005, when I was living in New York City for the very first time, I went on a date with a guy named Mike. For our first (and only) date, Mike asked me to pick my favorite restaurant in the entire city. I choose Dallas BBQ, a soul food joint overflowing with fatty foods, high calories drinks and massive portions. When we got to the restaurant, Mike was appalled by the menu. He refused to stay – and instead, we ate a dinner across the street. Mike ordered a salad with no cheese, fat free dressing and a diet coke. In that moment, I knew it would never work out.

I understand that Dallas BBQ can’t be a staple food source for someone that is looking to stay healthy and fit – or for someone that is trying to release weight. But I also understand that life is about balance and moderation. If your self-imposed diet deprives you of the foods that you love, then it’s probably a diet to which you’ll be unable to stick. It’s just not sustainable.

So, I follow the 80/20 rule. I eat foods that are healthy 80% of the time. And 20% of the time, I allow myself to indulge in the foods that may not be particularly healthy – but that I love. Things like potato skins, vegetable tempura or french fries. The trick is moderation – and the 80/20 rule is a helpful guideline for striking that gentle balance. It amounts to 2 – 3 indulgent meals over the course of a week.

The 80/20 rule allows you to have your cake and eat it too. Literally. And that’s why I’m such a fan.

Do you follow the “everything in moderation” mentality? When it comes to diet and nutrition, what do you do?