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Portion Distortion: You're Eating More Than You Think

One factor contributing to obesity and diseases like diabetes is portion distortion. The belief that the larger portions on today’s menus and shelves are normal and the size we should always consume.

In this edition of Vital Signs, dietitian Jamie Bass, a dietitian with Texas Health Harris Methodist Southwest Fort Worth explains the difference.

From Bass’s interview…

What’s behind the increase in portions? Customer satisfaction. We found out it didn’t cost as much to make twice as much. And so clients were very happy to eat, to have the larger portion, you know, so they could pay a little bit more but they’d get a lot more food.

Customers see value in that… But then you don’t see what it’s doing to your body. Just a little bit of weight gain can increase your risk of heart disease, of diabetes.

What is a proper-sized portion? The easiest way to do it is “the plate method.”  You take a plate. Half of it will be fruits and vegetables. A quarter is you meat, your main entrée. And then a quarter is the carbohydrate, the starch, like a bread or pasta. The best way to forward portion control and watch your weight is writing everything down. Keeping a record of everything you eat. Now everybody has a smartphone, apps, you can put everything is, you don’t have to write everything down. And then when you write down what you eat or keep a record of what you eat, you can see what you’re eating – because we don’t think we eat as much as we do.

For more information:

WebMD: How To Avoid Portion Distortion 

NHLBI Portion Distortion Quiz 

Portions & Servings: What Are The Difference? 

What You Should Know About Diabetes 

Diabetes Health Center 

Sam Baker is KERA's senior editor and local host for Morning Edition. The native of Beaumont, Texas, also edits and produces radio commentaries and Vital Signs, a series that's part of the station's Breakthroughs initiative. He also was the longtime host of KERA 13’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He also won an Emmy in 2008 for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and has earned honors from the Associated Press and the Public Radio News Directors Inc.