Volume eating

Have been watching an interesting TV programme about why we’re all getting fatter (The Men Who Made Us Fat, BBC2). Of course it showed plenty of people stuffing food into their mouths with both hands – obviously they didn’t want to waste time bothering with cutlery. Now, is it just me, or is watching people gorging singularly offputting? It’s certainly enough to put me off my fodder. Messy eating, like arguing, should be done in private – but I digress…

The result of watching all this overeating led the scientists to note something I hadn’t thought about before. Yes, we know portion sizes are way too big, especially when eating out. However, they realised that we get used to eating the same volume of food each day, regardless of what the food actually is. Our stomachs expect a certain volume before they give out the “I’m full” message.

If we eat nothing but burgers and fries and guzzle fizzy pop, we’ll gain weight more than someone who eats the same volume of lean meat and steamed vegetables and drinks water. So cutting back on calories doesn’t have to – shouldn’t in fact – mean that we go hungry, as long as we choose to eat foods that are less calorific than we did previously.

It’s small changes like a baked potato (no butter!) instead of chips, and a smaller serving of meat with a larger serving of vegetables, that can make a real difference. And cut out sugar if you can, as it tends to make you feel hungrier than you really are – so swap the cola for a cup of antioxidant-rich tea!


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