Eat Healthy, Eat Big

OK.  So you're determined to eat healthier. Why not have some chcken?  A broiled chicken leg, thigh, and a breast -- that should do it.

Not.  People are eating healthier, it's true.  But they're eating more.  According to reuters.com, people are eating large portions of healthy food, thinking it doesn't matter.

But calories are calories.  "People think (healthier food) is lower in calories," Pierre Chandon, a marketing professor at the INSEAD Social Science Research Center in France, told Reuters' Kerry Grens, and they "tend to consume more of it."

Portion sizes have become larger over the years, as have plate sizes.  I purposely went out and bought smaller plates so less food looks like more (and you actually eat less).  Now when I go to a restaurant and see the heaping amounts of food on the (huge) plate, I sometimes want to send it back, but more often, just take half home. 

In an interesting study, Grens reports, participants were told to help themselves to cole slaw that was labeled "healthy" and "standard."  People took much more of the healthy cole slaw (which really isn't very healthy at all, no matter how you make it), so that they ended up eating the same amount of calories as the portions they took of the regular slaw, though smaller.

And what's worse, we usually underestimate the amount of calories in food.  I'm guilty.  I stopped eating Whopper Juniors (hey, they're juniors!) when I found out they're almost 1,000 calories -- practically my whole allotment for the day.

Grens notes that experts say that people "tend to stereotype food that might be healthy in one aspect, say, lower in fat, as being healthy in every dimension."  But that is clearly not true.

Authorities advise eating lots of fruits and vegetables (and yes, you can get fat eating too much of them, too) and staying away from processed foods (sadly, most of the foods in our diets).


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