It is said that art imitates life. And, this holds true even in depictions of the divine. A study conducted by a Cornell University professor and his brother, a Presbyterian minister and religious studies professor, has found that depictions of the famous Last Supper of Jesus Christ has seen a growth in the food portion sizes over the last 1,000 years.
But, the obesity crisis has only been a problem in the last few decades. So, what can be taken from these findings?
“The last thousand years have witnessed dramatic increases in the production, availability, safety, abundance, and affordability of food,” says Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and author of “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think.”
If you have ever read a nutrition facts label, you have probably seen the “serving size” listed right at the top. But do you know where that number comes from? (Hint, not an independent third party.) It’s actually the manufacturers themselves. Buy a big packaged muffin in the store and chances are the serving size is half a muffin. Check the cookies. The serving size is probably one or two. It’s not just junky foods either. I checked my package of alfalfa sprouts. One serving is supposedly 2/3 of the entire package. Now, I love my sprouts, but I’m lucky to get a small handful on a sandwich or salad.
So why is this an issue? Well, if you haven’t heard there’s an obesity epidemic going on in the United States. We don’t get enough exercise. We don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. We sit too much. We eat too much food we don’t bother to make ourselves. We eat a lot of stuff out of boxes and packages. Probably most important, many Americans don’t really know how to nourish ourselves and balance out our eating.
Weight management is multifaceted. But when it comes to the purpose of nutrition facts labels, it’s all about educating the consumer about how much food, calories, and nutrients are in a realistic serving. So recently, the FDA has said they need to look at what they can do to help people manage how much they eat and make sure they aren’t confused by the information provided. (more…)
If there is one thing that I always try to communicate about managing your weight, it is definitely portion control. High calorie foods need to be consumed in smaller portions to keep total calories in check. Even healthy foods like salmon, avocado, and nuts that provide healthy fats need portion control, or you could be going over budget and the next thing you know the numbers on the scale don’t budge and you aren’t happy.
That’s why I was thrilled to see this cute idea from the California Almond Board for easy portion control and portability.
Overeating has become a huge problem these days and I know we are all guilty of it every now and then. The majority of Americans eat due to boredom or depression. By keeping ourselves busy, active, and out of stressful/depressing situations, we can beat this phenomenon.
Overeating not only causes rapid weight gain, but high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, or even a ruptured stomach can be result. Serving sizes have been blow out of proportion these days and can actually be rather scary. Below are the recommended serving sizes as well as a few helpful tips to prevent overeating. (more…)
Friends can be your worst enemy when it comes to trying to keep control of your waistline. Even if they aren’t overtly using peer pressure to coax you into eating unhealthily, they can be doing so through their own actions.
Most of us know them: people who can eat and eat and not gain an ounce. That fraternity gets a little smaller after 30 when everyone’s metabolism begins to slow. But, while they still maintain this seemingly impossible dietary feat, they do so at the expense of the rest of us.
That’s because according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, thin friends who eat a lot may unwittingly make you eat more in the process. Call it subliminal peer pressure. (more…)
One of the main reasons I recommend having two meals, one of which being a small meal such as an appetizer, is to help avoid overeating. This may sound counter intuitive, but with busy schedules we can tend to eat late or not have much time and therefore end up gobbling up as much food as we can in one sitting. Shortly thereafter we are left having over consumed calories, feeling stuffed and lethargic.
It can take up to 15 minutes for your brain to register with your stomach that food is in your system, a large proponent for overeating. Many times we will keep eating the food that is on our plate waiting for that “feeling of full,” only to have completely surpassed it. Eating a snack or appetizer prior to eating your main meal will help start that communication between your stomach and your brain, so by the time you go to eat your main course you will only need to eat a portion of it to fulfill your bodies’ needs. (more…)
How come someone hasn’t thought of this diet tool before? TwoFoods is a free website application that allows you to compare two foods at once to determine which one better fits into your eating plan.
For instance, you can compare a McDonald’s grilled chicken salad to Panera’s grilled chicken Caesar salad, to find that the McDonald’s version is a better choice; or you can compare generic potato chips against Baked Lays and receive a complete nutritional analysis of calories, fat, carbs and protein grams. (more…)
Whether it’s a late summer BBQ, wedding, or other life milestone, you’re bound to have your calendar booked with a celebration sometime soon. For people working hard to lose weight, it can be stressful and even cause anxiety that can make you want to skip the event altogether. If this sounds like you, you should know that your uneasy feeling is natural and you shouldn’t think negatively toward it. Instead, how about a solution? I’ll explain why you’re having a difficult time and how you can be social without blowing your diet.
It’s All About Control
The reason social engagements may make you feel uncomfortable has to do with control; how much control you think you have over making “the right” choices so you won’t leave feeling stuffed and regretful of your actions. (more…)
Watch my video on tips for including nuts in your eating plan. They are a healthy food, but just because a little is good, more is not better. Leave a comment with ideas for ways of adding nuts to healthy foods for all to enjoy!
One of the biggest keys to weight loss success is facing the reality of an accurate serving size. Let’s take this morning’s breakfast of cereal as a prime example, shall we? If you are anything like me, I stumble into the kitchen, blearily grab a box of cereal and a bowl, and dump the cereal into the bowl. I fill it most of the way full, and then add milk. I sit down and eat, not paying much attention until I get to the bottom of the bowl. Zzzzzz…
What’s the problem in this scenario? (Other than the fact that I’m eating while just about asleep, that is…) The almost certain culprit would be the way that I poured the cereal. Free form, loose and flowing are great things for art work, but they really play havoc on your diet. Flip that cereal box around, see where it say SERVING SIZE? Yeah, those words are actually there for a reason, not just as pretty filler for white space. (more…)
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