Are we improving in America, or not, in terms of portion size, and does it matter?

PORTION SIZE is an important matter for those who corset, or waist train. It’s not the only answer to comfort and control of our figures, but it cannot be ignored, otherwise we can suffer nausea, heartburn, burping and other digestive discomfort when we restrict our waistlines and overindulge.3B-parents plate

There’s a lot of public health news and advice out there on TV and in new books on nutrition. Some restaurants seem to be getting the message—but some do not, and I wonder why not? More pressure needs to be placed on those lagging behind, to change their offerings. Even so, that’s not the total answer either, because research has shown that when we see a menu containing identified healthy low-cal items, that seems to justify to us to order even larger more calorific plates. I was gobsmacked when I read about that! Somehow we use beneficial menu changes to let our food demons out of the bag and defeat our best intentions to eat well and nutritiously when we dine out. That’s one reason I urge students in my three month waist-training coaching program, to just avoid restaurants all together: guarantee you that they will still be there for you when you have reached your goals!

Do you think we are making headway in downsizing portions in restaurants and food stores, or not? Please let me know your thoughts, and the information that supports your conclusion.

3B-children's choicesIn some ways, huge (should I say, “obscene”?) calorie counts may be changing. In April 2016, a San Francisco manager of the Cheese Cake Factory told me that by 2011, at least in the continental United States, the chain had introduced a “Skinnylicious Menu” of appetizers and flatbreads, each under 490 calories, plus some salads and specials, each under 590 calories. Bully for them!

I was whipsawed in the other direction the same month, when the news announced that McDonalds announced that in Columbus and Dallas, it was testing a Grand Mac featuring larger buns and meat patties (1/5 lb compared to 1/3 lb of beef in the Big Mac), plus a second slice of cheese (see Columbus Business First, April 19, 2016).

It’s dangerous to eat in restaurants, we all know that, because the smells and choices are tempting. My partner now orders a baked chicken sandwich with no mayo when he goes to Burger King or the like, but I fear for him. How long can he resist those smells? So far, so good!

From The Dorito Effect (highly recommended reading) by Mark Schatzker, I learned that many fast food hamburger chains pipe in smell and/or make every item taste the same, designed to drive us mad with desire. Big Chemical and Flavor companies can replicate every single flavor you can imagine, and they shoot and pump it into de-flavored foods from meats to vegetables. They take the flavor out to fast-forward the meat and veggies to market and just before, they add flavor (not to mention preservatives) back in–but it’s all chemically produced in labs these days.

The only guide I’ve found to eat well in major chain restaurants, is Eat This Not That: Restaurant Survival Guide by  David Zinczenko (also recommended reading). We do our best when we go out, split one entree, almost never eat the pre-dinner bread, and never eat sugary desserts (since I gave up refined sugar on June 15, 2015 and am sticking to my guns with many beneficial results!)Sugar in a Coke_6

If there is one thing you can do when you dine out, that is to give up dessert, or just order fruit. A great book that really changed my nutritional habits when nothing else could, is Barry Friedman’s I Love Me More Than Sugar. Run don’t walk to get that one, read it, and consider implementing your own 30-day trial. You will likely find as I did, that flavors of other foods improved greatly, and started tasting sweet! Now I can’t stand the thought of a huge piece of iced cake, as it seems sickly sweet to me since my palate has changed. As far as i can tell it’s all for the good, since gut microbiomes improve with no sugar for bacteria to feast on. I’m a lot happier, more energetic, and calm camper these no-sugar days. I don’t have sugar crashes or get cranky when I get hungry. Hunger never overwhelms me as it once did.

Avoid those dessert trays (as well as leaded or unleaded soft drinks) in restaurants as one step you can take to better health, and voting with your wallet.

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