n the highly complex world we live in today, it is confusing and difficult for people to understand if food is addictive or not. There are many factors to consider when discussing this and one factor to consider is the major mediator of food environment relating to portion size and how this impacts on energy balance and body weight.
Numerous studies have identified people consuming larger portions has an increase effect on energy intake and shows an increased instance of obesity. There are measures in place to teach people to control their portion control, one of these is portion control plates, this does not mean they will not go back to their old ways and go back to their plates and increase their portion sizes. Another way of controlling people energy intake is to substitute meals with liquid meal replacements or preproportioned foods; this does not teach them how to control their energy intake and maintain a healthy body weight. When portion size is controlled by these methods, it is likely for people to go back to old habits and revert to large portions and increase body weight.
Energy intake is an important aspect for energy balance and body weight, if you only educate people to reduce their intake of all food types, this does not teach them to control their portion sizes by determining the difference between low and high energy density foods. Just controlling portion sizes is not sufficient to control body weight; people need to understand that energy density has an impact of the choices they make. It is encouraged to maintain body weight by consume larger portions of low energy dense foods whilst restricting the intake of high energy foods. So you can see that portion size is not necessarily the answer depending on the food choices.
Examples of low energy dense foods are nonstarchy vegetables such as leafy greens, broccoli, carrots and vegetables that have a high water content and fibre; whole grains which are high in fibre not highly processed – popcorn, oats and brown rice; lean meats, white meat, fish and eggs.
Examples of high energy dense foods are foods that are small in portion and high in calories such as vegetable chips, cheese, nuts, cakes, processed foods, junk food and ice cream.
So portion size in our food environment has a large impact on our energy balance and body weight as if you do not watch how many and the type of calories you are consuming versus the amount of calories you have burnt. If you consume mainly low energy density foods you will remain fuller for longer and you will manager your energy balance and body weight. If you consume high energy density foods that do not satisfy your hunger, you will consume more of these foods to fulfil you hunger, then your will gain weight. When you choose to eat high density energy foods choose fresh foods such as nuts, seeds and avocado rather than processed and junk foods that have no nutritional value.
Article: What is the role of prtion control in weight management?
Date published: 25 July 2014
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