Friday, September 13, 2019

Portion size and caloric intake in children

The Study
Does the amount of food on your plate influence the amount of calories you ingest? A recently published study in children attempts to answer this question. Forty-six children aged 3-5 were served the same 5 day menus on two separate occasions. The first was with normal portion sizes. In the second, portions were increased by 50%.

When the children had more food on their plate, they ate an additional 167 calories, which was a statistically significant increase of 18%. Overweight children showed an especially strong response to the larger portions. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2019; 109:1361-72.

Take Home Message
While the results of this study are particularly important to parents of pre-school children, I believe that they apply to all of us. When there is more food on our plate, we all tend to eat more. This is a big reason why people who eat out a lot at restaurants tend to gain weight.

There are really 2 take home messages here:
-Serve a reasonable amount of food on your plate in the kitchen and bring your plate to the table. If you see a big dish of food in front of you, you will be way more likely to load up with a second portion.

-Limit eating out at restaurants to just a few times per week. Portion sizes at restaurants are almost always greater than what you would make for yourself at home.

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