Portion Sizes Count

Sweetner 21

We’ve been served huge portions for so long that it’s hard for us to judge appropriate portion sizes. For example, compared to the portion standards set by the United States Department of Agriculture, typical bagels are at 2 x larger, muffins – 3 x larger, cooked pasta – 5 x larger and cookies 7 x larger.

BARIX CLINICS PORTION SIZES
Protein Rich Foods 2-4 Servings Per Day
Meat, Fish Poultry 2 oz
Eggs 2
Egg Substitute ½ cup
Beans ½ cup
Protein Supplement varies
   
Low Fat Dairy 4-6 Servings Per Day
Low Fat Milk ½ cup
No Added Sugar Yogurt ½ cup
Low Fat Cheese ½ oz
   
Vegetables 3-6 Servings Per Day
Fresh or Frozen Vegetables ¼  cup
Leafy Greens ½ cup
   
Fruits 2-4 Servings Per Day
Fresh, Canned or Frozen Fruit ¼ cup
   
Grains 4-6 Servings Per Day
Bread ½ slice
Bagel ¼ small
Cereal ¼ cup
Pasta ¼ cup
Rice ¼ cup

This increase in served portions makes it difficult for us to eyeball portion sizes; so even if you think you’re eating the proper amount of food, you’re probably not.

Just how important is it for you to monitor portions? In a two-year study of people who were overweight, practicing portion control allowed 40% of them to lose 5% or more of their body weight. Those who didn’t monitor portions gained weight.

Try these tips to keep portions in check:

-Use measuring cups, spoons and scales to measure your food.

-Pre-portion foods by dividing into single portion sizes.

-Don’t skip meals or snacks. You’re likely to overeat at the next meal.

-Keep a food journal. Nothing makes you more aware of how much you are eating than keeping track of it.

– Make meals in muffin tins. Think meatloaf, lasagna, ham and egg cups, chicken tacos, enchiladas, shepherd’s pie, cheeseburgers, and quiche.

-Do your own cooking, pack meals and snacks for work or school. Nothing puts you more in control than preparing foods yourself.

-Limit food choices. Fewer food options translates into less food eaten.

-Serve proper portions and put leftovers away.

– Avoid distractions and remain mindful while eating.

– Set the stage for slower eating. Dim lights and listen to relaxing music. Chew slowly and put down your fork between bites.

-When eating out, ask for a ‘to go’ container when your meal comes. Dish out an appropriate portion and put the rest away.

– Plan meals and snacks and pre-record on your food log.

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Enjoy Hot Beverages

Sweetner 20

Check your favorite beverage to see what it is sweetened with. If you find one of the use with caution or avoid sweeteners, consider making your own version. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Hot Apple Cider

2 bags Celestial Seasonings Cinnamon Apple Spice tea
1 lemon wedge, juiced or 1 teaspoon lemon juice
sweetener to taste
8 oz water
1 cinnamon stick (optional)

Boil water and pour over 2 tea bags. Steep for a few minutes and then add sweetener and lemon juice. Stir with cinnamon stick if desired. Makes 1 serving.
Alpine Hot Spiced Cider is a wonderful drink to sip on a cool evening, but it’s sweetened with aspartame. This is an easy-to-prepare substitute that puts you in control of the sweetener you would like to use. Tastes great with liquid stevia or erythritol.
Nutrition information per serving: 1 calorie, 0 grams protein, 0 grams fat, 0 grams carbohydrate, 0 mg sodium.

Fruit Punch

4 tea bags fruit flavored decaffeinated tea
4 cups boiling water
4 cups cold water
Flavored or plain liquid stevia or other sweetener to taste

Place tea bags in a large mason jar or other heat resistant container. Pour hot water over tea bags and steep for 15 minutes. Remove tea bags and add cold water and sweetener. Stir and refrigerate. Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 0 calories, 0 grams protein, 0 grams fat, 0 grams carbohydrate, 0 mg sodium.
Green Tea Lemonade

5 cups brewed green tea
3 cups water
Juice from 4 small lemons or ⅓ cup of lemon juice
15 drops of liquid stevia or other sweetener
Ice cubes
Brew tea according to instructions. Refrigerate to cool. Pour brewed green tea in a large pitcher and stir in water, lemon juice and stevia. Add ice cubes and serve. Optional: add lemon slices to garnish. Makes 8 servings.
Nutrition Information Per Serving: 2 calories, 0 grams protein, 0 grams fat, 1 gram carbohydrate, 0 mg sodium.

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Here’s How Sweeteners Stack Up

Sweetner 19

Unfortunately, the media, in an effort to grab attention through headlines, often misleads the public about the true importance of study findings. The danger in this constant bombardment of conflicting and hyped information is that people, not knowing the right thing to do, may simply give up on making healthy changes to their diet. But making healthy food choices can have a positive impact on health; so it is important that people, especially those who have undergone weight loss surgery, strive to eat a healthy diet. Choosing sugar substitutes can be part of that healthy diet.

Research tells us that sugar substitutes are not equal when it comes to safety. What ends up in our food is most likely based on the acceptable taste of the finished product and the cost to produce the product, not the potential health risks to individuals. After all, the FDA has approved all the sweeteners we find in our food supply as being safe for human consumption.

As an individual, selecting healthy foods and beverages for yourself and your family, you may want to be more discerning. Although it sounds easy enough, read the labels and discard any options that contain potentially toxic sweeteners; many of our favorite drinks and foods contain these ingredients. For example, Jello gelatin contains aspartame and Crystal Light is sweetened mostly with aspartame. It’s best to focus on the sweeteners in the beverages you choose and foods that you eat on a regular basis. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to avoid all of the potentially toxic sweeteners in our food supply, but you can cut back drastically by putting your focus into these areas.

Here’s how the individual sugar substitutes stack up.

Stevia, found in Equal Naturals, Pure Via, Splenda Naturals, Stevia in the Raw, SweetLeaaf, and Truvia may have a slightly bitter aftertaste, but appear to be safe to consume.

Erythritol, found in Equal Naturals, Splenda Naturals, Swerve, Truvia, and Wholesome Zero is an underutilized gem in the world of sugar substitutes. You may have the best luck finding this product online. It bakes well and tastes like sugar and appears to be safe for consumption. Although it is a sugar alcohol, it has fewer of the gastro-intestinal side effects found with most sugar alcohols.

Sugar Alcohols, known by the names hydrogenated starch hydrolysate, Isomalt, Lactitol, Maltitol, Mannitol, Sorbitol, and Xylitol appear to be safe in moderate amounts. Larger amounts can cause the gastro-intestinal side effects of gas, cramping and diarrhea. Sugar alcohols are found in many sugar free products including candy, protein bars, and ice cream. Limit to 7 grams per day until you are able to establish your personal tolerance level.

Acesulfame Potassium is found in Equal Original and Equal Spoonful and many processed foods and should be used with caution or avoided because it may cause cancer in animals.

Aspartame is found in Equal Original, Equal Spoonful, and NutraSweet and many processed foods. It is the most widely studied sweetener and should be used with caution or avoided because it may cause cancer in animals.

Saccharin is found in Sugar Twin and Sweet’N Low and many processed foods and should be used with caution or avoided because it may cause cancer in animals.

Sucralose is found in Spenda and many processed foods and should be used with caution or avoided because it may cause cancer in animals.

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Do Sugar Subs Cause Stroke?

Sweetner 18

Stroke

A 10-year study of men and women ages 45 and older tracked what kinds of beverages the subjects were drinking and then monitored their health. It found that those who drank one or more diet drinks a day had a risk of stroke that was three times higher than those who drank less than 1 diet drink a week. It’s important to realize that the association between diet drinks and stroke isn’t cause and effect. There may be other reasons why people who drank diet soda were more likely to have a stroke—perhaps they were diagnosed with cardiovascular disease and switched from regular to diet drinks in an attempt to lose weight.

Conclusion—there is weak evidence that sugar substitutes lead to stroke.

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Do Sugar Subs Cause Dementia?

Sweenter 17

Dementia

In the Framingham Heart Study, participates who drank at least one diet drink a day were almost 3 times more likely to suffer from dementia than those who drank none. But when other variables (blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, etc.) were taken into consideration, the increased risk was no longer there.

Conclusion—there is weak evidence that sugar substitutes lead to dementia.

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