Saturday, July 14, 2012

Does Cutting Your Food Matter When it Comes to Portion Control?

The answer is yes!  Better portion control here we come!

Recent research suggests that cutting food into smaller pieces can provide greater satiety.  The study performed at Arizona State University in the Psychology Department observed satiety patterns in 301 students.  The students were either given a whole (uncut) bagel or a bagel cut into pieces.  Twenty minutes after the students had eaten the bagels they were offered additional food.  The students who consumed the bagel cut into pieces were found to consume 25% less food than those who consumed bagels that were not cut.  Prior rat studies report similar results.

Meal timing is a crucial component of portion control.  Several experts suggest it takes approximately 20 minutes for your brain to realize you are full from a meal consumed.  The concept of meal timing in relation to cutting your food is simple - when you cut up your food you will take more bites.  When you take more bites it should take you longer to chew.  When you chew longer, hunger hormones and brain satisfaction will likely kick in and lead to less food consumed.

This technique should be something practiced by all, not just by those persons on a diet or weight loss program.  Families should incorporate the method into family meal times and encourage it amongst the group.  Portion control is a key behavior for obesity prevention.

Here are a few tips on encouraging your family to cut their food:
  • Plan time for the family meal - expect the meal to take at least 20-30 minutes.  Make sure that all families members understand the time expected.
  • Remind family members that increased chewing time allows for greater time to enjoy the flavors within the foods.  Unfortunately when people consume their food rapidly they are less likely to appreciate the flavors contained within the food.
  • Present food in a way in which it will need to be cut to be eaten.  
  • Ensure proper cutting utensils are readily available at the table.  Having the utensils readily available will increase the chances of food to be cut more thoroughly.  
  • Make sure your family understands the concept of portion control and the relationship of over-sized portion consumption to obesity. 

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