This Article is About
portion size
physical cues
taste buds
macaroni and cheese
fountain drink
portion sizes
overeating
burgers
calories
coca cola
fast food
Portion Size, Serving Size And The Psychology Behind Overeating
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Portion Size, Serving Size And the Psychology Behind Overeating

Overeating is not only a problem caused by overactive taste buds or simply by your emotions. In many cases there are more than a few reasons that are spurring you to overeat including a mechanism caused by the messages that gets bobbled by the eyes, the brain and the stomach. Simply put, how much food you eat may be directly related to how much food is available to eat, regardless of how hungry or not hungry you are at the time you start eating it. While slower eating might help, it may not be the right kind of help.

According to a research study, the more food that is put onto a plate or piled into a cup or bowl, the more you will automatically eat regardless of physical cues to stop eating. That study used 180 adults who were given a portion of macaroni and cheese. Half were given a nine ounce portion while the other half were given thirteen ounces. The people who were served the larger portion ate nearly fifty times as much as the people with the smaller amount, even if they did not finish the entire serving.

But, it is more than just our minds that play tricks on us when we eat. Our food has gotten progressively bigger over time as well. Most restaurants serve food in portion sizes that are two the three times the normal servings. In the 1950's the typical fast food hamburger was typically below three ounces in size an came in with just over two hundred calories. That same, single patty burger today is just over four ounces in size and has over three hundred calories. And that says nothing for the bigger burgers, some coming in well over a thousand calories. The six ounce Coca Cola in 1916 is now the 21 ounce Coke. It might sound frightening, but there is a fountain drink that is sixty four ounces and depending on what is in the cup could have as many as 600 calories, or half the daily calories of the average sized woman.

The obesity numbers have barely changed in the last few years. While some people are calling it a victory because they have not gone up, the problem is that they have not gone down either. Portion sizes are only part of the problem. Calorie counts are now being listed in more restaurants, especially in New York and California where it is mandated that they are posted in all locations.


Street Talk

I agree with you about portion sizes. Another thing to consider is exercise. I gain weight when I am unable to walk due to some kind of surgery. I could have found other ways to exercise. However, if I am also in a lot of pain, exercising becomes extremely difficult because just moving around hurts at that point. However, if I don't exercise, I become stiff, so it is better to move a little bit than not moving your body around at all.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Are you able to swim? Swimming removes all impact from the body and is very relaxing. I have a friend who joined a gym just to use their indoor pool. She had issues with RA and could not do other types of exercise, so the swimming was really good for her. I hope you continue to have good or at least improving health!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Thank you for mentioning the possibility of swimming. I don't swim as much as I used to when I was younger. When I talk about exercise, I generally do walking, gardening, or dancing. If I swim, the water needs to be warm. Otherwise, I don't feel like swimming.

  
  about 1 decade ago
Jeremy T  

Even tho portion sizes are one of the issues here, people are always looking for more value for there buck. Restaurant A that sells the biggest burger rather than restaurant B will make more business because they simply give you more no matter how unhealthy it is. In reality ,this over portioned food thing with companies and restaurants is just a competition game they don't care about us they care about the money, eventually they will fall because of there and ideologies on business.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Have you seen any of the pictures from the Heart attack Grill? Scary!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
Jeremy T  

I can't say that i have i should take a look tho

  
  about 1 decade ago

I don't know if you can say the 'don't care about us' - after all, they're giving us what we want. I doubt it would be a convincing argument for a restaurant to say "Come and eat here, we give you smaller portions because it's healthy." :)

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Good points Amie, and so true. Portion sizes are too large at restaurants. That's why Franz does not eat out! For one, the food quality is lousey, and two, the temptation to over indulge is hard to resist. However, the more you know about optimal nutrition the easier it is to avoid the temptation. For Franz, a portion size to create a proper meal of healthy proteins, carbs, and fats will total between 300 - 500 calories. A healthy snack will be about 250 calories. For some people this is a good way to start looking at portion control. If you put a value to the meal it helps people to visualize what proper portions should look like for them: each person is different and they have to figure out what portion size is right for them to lose weight, maintain it, or for some people, to gain weight.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Hi Franz, I don't know if you ever struggled with weight control. When a person is used to larger portion sizes and starts a diet, that person may inwardly rebel at the idea of using proper portion sizes when eating snacks and meals. I use a hand system because it is easy for me. I also keep in mind some people's hands and fingers are larger than others. I rebelled Therefore, I used the hand guide in the past (before I went on the "Simply Filling Technique" for Weight Watchers, and that is more helpful for me than trying to figure out the size of a deck of cards, a golf ball, etc. You can find a hand guide to portion control by looking for it online.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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