Skinny Daily Post


Calorie-wise, that is. In a just-released study, researchers have found that EVERYONE – large, small, fat, thin – were pretty well accurate in estimating the number of calories in a standard meal, but consistently underestimated the number of calories in a large meal. Here’s a link to an abstract of the original paper . (It’s not in Medline yet.)

Interestingly, even though all sizes of people underestimated the number of calories in the larger meals, the thinner people chose the smaller meals and the heavier people the larger ones.

The authors concluded that their study did not support the commonly held wisdom that heavy people are less accurate at estimating calories than thin people.

What was TRULY interesting to me, however, was that the authors tested a strategy to improve calorie estimation among the heavier people. Deconstruction of the meal!

Obviously, if you have 1/2 c tomatoes, 3 oz chicken, 1/2 c acorn squash, and 3 cups of french fries, the calories in the meal are tomatoes + chicken + squash + fries + plus whatever fat + condiments. It’s not ‘this is a 9 inch plate and it’s half full of food and oh look there are two veggies, so I can deduct their calories and divide by 2.’

And, oddly enough, I’ve found myself doing this very thing over the past couple of years. And I’m sure you have as well.

The authors concluded that

BMI cannot be linked to an individual’s inability to estimate calories. Efforts to promote counting calories as a way to lose weight may therefore be misguided, and authorities should look for alternative methods that have a better chance of success.

We constantly talk about the need to re-educate ourselves about our portion size, about what we’re actually eating, and why. I’m encouraged about this study. It’s not possible to make lasting change without facts. And research is catching up to us!

As a final note, many of the study participants are in France. Heavy people in France? We in the US have been trained to believe that there ARE no heavy people in France. What happened here?

3 thoughts on “What’s in YOUR meal?

  1. GG says:

    There are heavy people everywhere – I read an article in my newspaper couple of years ago about “fat camps” being run for overweight and obese kids in mainland China?

  2. Greta says:

    I don’t find the study encouraging at all. I think that obesity would be easier to overcome if all we had to do was learn to estimate calorie count correctly. I am not at all surprised that obese people are good at estimating calorie counts. After all, who has been on more diets?

  3. susan says:

    I’m pretty sure there are heavy people everywhere now. This past spring we saw many overweight people in England and Spain and portions in both countries were HUGE. It is true, however, that we didn’t see as many really obese people in Europe.

    I have used a salad plate for dinner for the past 6 months. It helps me with realistic portion size. Restaurants need to stop using platters on which to serve people dinner. The last time I went to the Olive Garden, the lunch portion of capellini made three meals for me!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: