Cut Portion Sizes, Not Ingredients

I just recently read an article in the Los Angeles Times called ” Chef, Can You Help?” (read it here). In summary the article was about how chefs were asked to lower the fat and calories by 25% without affecting the food’s deliciousness. It was based on a 2010 study from the journal Obesity. The researchers that conducted the study asked 432 chefs from all over the U.S. if they could reduce the calories in their menu items by 10% to 25%. It goes on to stay that 93% of the chefs thought it could be possible.  Most of them said they’d do it by changing out the ingredients rather than shrinking portions… Then the article printed this…

 “(In America, we like our portions big.)”

That’s what gets me. They would rather change out the ingredients say for example; low-fat tofu rather than full fat tofu, instead of cutting down the portions sizes. To point out that Americans like their portions big is the obvious problem at hand. Switching to fat-free/low-fat foods isn’t always
the healthier option. Yes, maybe we can reduce the amount of salt that is being used in our foods but I think ultimately we need to reduce the portion sizes. We are the fattest country. We have an abundance of knowledge at our fingertips. So why is it that we can’t lose weight? Cutting out the ingredients or switching them to a less fulfilling option will ultimately do us more harm than good. You can overeat healthy food and still gain weight.

( source )

To reduce the obesity epidemic we need to reduce the amount of food Americans put in their mouths. I would prefer to have a full fat, real sugar, real butter kind of food at half the size. If we over eat healthy foods we still gain weight. In order to start the pound shedding process one would need to burn/expend more calories than consumed. Seems like a no brainer to me. Given I work in a gym and am submerged in the wellness world but the most results I see is when an individual cuts down the amount of calories they are consuming and switching to whole, real foods. No fake crap.

Words of caution though… if you do not cut your portion sizes don’t eat full fat foods. Also you should have some type of a physical activity in your life… something that burns calories. I’m not a fan of putting emphases on calories but in this case I support it.

Overall I think the article was great. At least we are headed in a positive health direction. We are ultimately responsible for what we put in our bodies. Nobody is forcing us. If Americans eat out an average of four to five times a week we need to be more mindful of what we are ordering. Instead of the bacon cheeseburger maybe try the grilled chicken sandwich with a side salad. The great news now is that restaurants are now required by law to show nutrition information on their menu items. Read more on that here.

Anyhow… it ruffled my feathers a bit to point out that Americans like portions big but then not address that as the issue. Either way the moral here… be mindful of what we put in our mouths right? Where is comes from, how it was made and how it was cooked. Here’s to your health!!! Happy eating! 🙂

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