Category Archives: serving size

Can cherries upset your stomach?

If you are on the lookout for healthy snacks to munch on instead of potato chips, chocolate or other not-so-nutritious foods, check out cherries.

Recently, a guy I know bought cherries to satisfy that need without consuming a lot of empty calories. He ended up demonstrating that even natural healthy snacks have their limits. You need to use your brain when snacking and don’t overdo it, no matter whether it’s Cheetos or cherries.

Twice in recent weeks, this guy ate about a pound of cherries at one sitting. Eating that quantity of food at one sitting is just not smart any way you look at it, even a good healthy natural food like cherries.

Searching online for information about the problems he was having, he learned that everyone should limit their intake of cherries at one sitting to a cup at most.

As I say so often on these pages, “Eat less; move more; live longer.”

LiveStrong.com notes that, “Cherries are high in quercetin, a flavonoid that offers antioxidant protections against free radicals. A handful may offer you many health benefits, including heart disease and cancer prevention, but eating too many cherries can lead to stomach upset. Large amounts of quercetin may upset your stomach, triggering nausea and vomiting. Stick to a single cup of cherries to determine your threshold for quercetin intake.”

The take-away here is that overeating any food, even a healthy, natural fruit like cherries, can hurt you. Forget the mindless munching and think about portion control. That is one of the keys to getting a handle on your weight. You can read further on this in a post I wrote about eating watermelon, another very healthy food. You CAN have too much of a good thing.

If you are a guy/gal who has a sweet tooth and just can’t resist junking out, please take a moment to read my Love Letter to Hostess Ho Ho’s and Twinkies – NOT. It might give you a clearer perspective on how junk food damages you.

In the right hand column of this page you will find the portion control tag to read any of a number of posts on that topic. Get control of your portions and you will have grasped a key to controlling your weight.

Check out my Page – Snacking – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Tony

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Reading food labels …

The information on food labels was updated recently by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). I think they did a good job on helping the consumer to better understand the nutrients in food packages.

Below is an example of the updated label.

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On the left is the old format, one the right, the new. As you can see the Serving Size and Calories are now more prominently displayed. Additionally, the number of servings per container is also given. In the past many folks would read the calories without paying attention to the serving size or number of servings per container. For example, a package of potato chips might have told you innocently that there were 150 calories per serving. Not bad, you might conclude … if you weren’t aware that the package contained four servings, so, if you ate the whole bag, you were getting 600 calories.

Here are some tips offered by Rush Medical Center on reading the labels:

 

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Easter Ham – How many calories?

Ham is the traditional Easter main course, unless you’re going to an Easter buffet with your family and have miles of different foods to choose from.

Beware the salt in Easter ham

So how many calories are in that ham, or how much can you eat without ruining your calorie count on Easter? And what about the salt? Ham and salt go together because salt is used to cure and preserve ham.

Here are some differing estimates that may help you with that ham dinner. Myfitnesspal.com puts a three-ounce serving of honey baked ham, spiral cut, at a very manageable 150 calories. Three ounces is a small amount, less than a quarter of a pound, however. The quarter pounder works for McDonald’s. Maybe it can work for you, too.

But then the salt kicks in. That three-ounce portion has 960 mg of salt, or 320 mg an ounce. We need around 2000 milligrams a day and medical experts say that many of us should cut it to 1500.

Another site good on calorie matters, SparkRecipes.com, puts 5.33 ounces of ham, presumably made without the honey this time, at 337 calories but with a sodium level of 2,273.4 mg. Experts recommend that adults consume below 1500 mg of salt per day.

Maybe the idea is that Easter only comes around once a year. Enjoy some ham and be done with it. Just don’t overdo it, particularly in view of the sodium content.

I think the old saw, “All things in moderation” comes into play here. You can enjoy some ham on Easter as long as you don’t make a pig of yourself.

Tony

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Serving Size and Portion Control – Keys to Weight Loss – Infographic

I hope you will take the time to study this infographic. There are loads of fascinating and useful facts and observations in it.

In my battle of the bulge, I found serving size and portion control to be the keys to my victory. Once you take charge of how much you are consuming, the battle is won. To continue on to robust good health, of course, you need to add regular exercise, too.

If you click on the illustration, you get an enlarged picture.

If you click on the illustration, you get an enlarged picture.

Tony

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3 Portion Sizes That Pack on the Pounds – Infographic

One picture is worth a thousand words department. A look at how portion sizes have ballooned since the ’50s gives us a clue as to why 60 percent of us are overweight and 30 percent obese. Don’t let fast food portion sizes torpedo your weight control efforts. Eat less; move more.

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The graph and proportions are dramatic. Make sure you notice how the figures on the bottom have also expanded.

In my weight control experience, portion control and serving size are key concepts. To read further on portion control and serving size, check out my Page – How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off.

Tony

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How the Right Perspective can Jump Start Weight Loss

I fought the battle of the bulge for decades with only small sporadic successes that were always followed by further weight gains. I like to eat and I really enjoy pizza, potato chips as well as ice cream and other fattening sweets. That’s why my problem wouldn’t go away. If it tasted good then I wanted to eat more and I often didn’t stop till the food ran out. Not a healthy practice!

Then I was lucky enough to get involved in writing this blog on diet, exercise and good health. What happened next was almost like magic. At the time, 2010, I had pared my weight down to 165 pounds from a high several years earlier of over 220. So, I considered myself to be a success, although probably only temporarily. But, writing the blog changed my perspective. I no longer thought of food as something just wonderful to consume with no further consequences. I became aware of portion control and serving size. I started paying attention to them. Previously, I had considered a serving of pasta, another of my favorites, to be a heaping plateful. Wrong. A cup of pasta amounts to 220 calories. And, that is without tomato or meat sauce.

This is one cup of pasta - 200 calories

This is one cup of pasta – 200 calories

When I say the change in perspective worked like magic, I mean just that. After several months of writing the blog, I found that my pants were sliding down around my diminishing waistline! I actually went to the doctor because I thought I must have cancer because the first thing they always ask is, “Have you experienced recent weight loss?”

It turned out that I was perfectly healthy. My body was just responding to my changed perspective of paying attention to what I ate and not simply overindulging because it tasted good.

That has been my actual experience. Today in late 2014, I weigh in the low 150 pound range where I have been for several years.

I truly believe it was the changed perspective toward food that accomplished in months what I had failed at for decades.

A friend recently emailed me a fun example of perspective that I want to share with you. It is a test for admission to an elementary school in Hong Kong. There is a series of numbers in a parking lot. You need to fill in the missing one. I confess I didn’t pass it. And, I hasten to add that I am good at math.

See how you do.

You are to answer in 20 seconds. I took way longer and still missed it. I will publish the answer tomorrow.

FullSizeRender

Good luck!

Tony

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Getting a Handle on Single Serving Size Portions

As I have written numerous times in this blog, I consider portion control to be one of the key concepts in getting a handle on those love handles. You must know how much you are consuming if you want to have any hope of  limiting it.

In the book The Portion Teller by Lisa R Young, Ph.D., R.D., she gives several brilliant examples in a section she calls Reality Check – single servings. These will help you to visualize serving size every time you sit down to eat.

“Bagels, muffins, street pretzels (soft) … are very large and contain several servings.

“How much is one serving of these items? One ounce. That equals:

“1/6 the average size muffin (bran, corn), 1/2 mini muffin 1/2 muffin top, 1 bite size muffin….

“1/6 street-vendor hot pretzel.

“1/5 bagel, 1/2 scooped out bagel, (Note: Half a bagel is a single serving only if it’s half of a mini-size bagel – the ones that are the size of a yo-yo.)

“1/2 English muffin, 1/2 hamburger bun, 1/2 bialy ….”

If this sparks your interest in portion control, please search the subject in the dialog box at the right. On the How to Lose Weight – And Keep it Off Page (Item 10) there are a number of items including some startling ones on how portions have changed over the years.

Tony

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Trim your Portion Size to Trim your Weight

My copy of Lisa R. Young’s book, The Portion Teller just arrived. In the early reading I am not surprised that she has received the adulation that covers her resume. I recounted some of these in The Portion Teller on May 20.
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On page 12 of the book she makes the profound point that “people eat in units.” A cookie, sandwich, order of fries, no matter the unit most people will eat the entire unit regardless of the size.

“Think about it,” she writes. “How often do you take just a few bites of an ice cream cone, a burger, or a hot dog a put the rest aside?…Or, how about a soda – do you regularly cap a half-drunk bottle and keep it for another day?”

She makes a similar point on second helpings. Most folks would never order a second helping of something, but have no problem buying a medium of anything. And, a medium is usually twice the size of a single small serving.

Who doesn’t remember being told as a child, “Eat everything on your plate. There are people starving in … (name your country here).” “Finish your dinner. It’s a sin to waste food!”

Sadly, these days, it has become a mortal sin to waist food as so many people are doing with 60% of us overweight and 30% obese.portel

Pay attention to your serving sizes – your portions. They are critical to gaining control of your weight.

You can purchase a copy of Lisa’s book The Portion Teller on Amazon at the link in the first paragraph.

Tony

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How Many Calories in One Serving of Vanilla Ice Cream?

In the interest of getting a feel for portion sizes and serving sizes, I put one serving of ice cream on this Portion Plate. The Portion Plate itself doesn’t have a serving size for ice cream, but it shows a baseball as a one cup size. I have to confess it was a revelation to me how very little ice cream makes up a single serving.

1/2 Cup of Vanilla Ice Cream on the Portion Plate.

One serving of ice cream is 1/2 cup, 66 grams. This is a photo of 1/2 cup of ice cream on the Portion Plate. When I have scooped ice cream out of a container, I have never stopped at this small of a quantity… half the size of a baseball. Clearly, most people eat a lot of calories when the sit down for ‘some ice cream.’

This single serving of vanilla ice cream has 130 calories, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 20 mg of cholesterol, 35 mg of sodium 14 grams of carbohydrate, no fiber and 3 grams of protein.

Tony

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