Portion Distortion

Hello and welcome Autumn!

Question: How many servings are in a bag of snack-size whole grain crackers? Or a small bottle of your favorite all natural juice? Or that 2 pack of granola bars you snack on?

Hint: It's not “one.” Often, the above products contain two or two-and-a-half servings per package.

Can YOU Eat Just One? More than likely you aren't going to eat half of a snack bag. If you place food in front of most people, they tend to eat it all. Remember the 1980's Lays Potato Chips ad, "Bet you can't eat just one"? They were playing on our need to finish what's in front of us. And it worked. Guess what? It still works!

The Dangers of Supersizing: Snacks aren't the only thing we need to be concerned about. Our meals have gotten bigger over the years and restaurants typically give us enough for 2 meals. Eating too much food in one sitting is hard on your body. Here’s why:

• Food is meant to be spread throughout the day. Eating too much food at one time causes pain, bloating, and slow digestion.

• When a lot of glucose is released into your blood your pancreas has to work overtime, pumping insulin through the body to try to move the glucose into your cells. This can make you feel spacey, weak, grouchy, and/or leave you with quite a headache.

• Thinking there is some type of emergency, your adrenal glands go into “fight or flight” mode and release adrenaline and cortisol, which is the body’s natural response to stress. Over time, this leaves you with an expanding waistline.

• When your blood sugar levels finally drop, you can experience cravings for more food—especially sugar and carbs.

• Research has shown that the immune system is affected for at least five hours after consuming large amounts of simple carbohydrates, leaving you open to getting sick more easily.

5 Tips to Kick Portion Distortion

• Don’t over order – go for salads, soups, and appetizers, which are typically more reasonably sized than entrees. If you do order an entre, eat half and take home half of it for another meal.

• Choose high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains to keep you feeling full and energized.

• Chew well to aid digestion and give your brain time to register you’re full before you overeat. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to tell you you're full!

• Drink enough water throughout the day. Often we mistake thirst for hunger.

• Carry your own snacks. Stock up on snack-sized containers and fill them with baby carrots, air- popped popcorn, or nuts.