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Archive for September, 2013

Just when you think you have heard all the ridiculous and often dangerous ways some people try to lose weight, along comes another hard-to-believe story. A lady in Iowa confessed to her doctor she had consumed a tapeworm that she ordered online to help her lose weight. Even the thought makes me queasy. Her physician called the Iowa Department of Public Health and was advised to prescribe an anti-worm medication.

Using tapeworms for weight-loss isn’t a new fad. Stories abound of tapeworm eggs sold in pill form. To what extent these were used is unknown, and many of the tales may be myths.

Unintentional sources for ingesting tapeworms, which can grow to more than 30 feet, include raw fish and meat. Water in undeveloped countries can also be a source. Infected individuals may or may not experience discomfort. Common symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, and other abdominal distress. However, certain types of tapeworms may cause death.

Will ingesting a tapeworm egg help you lose weight? Not necessarily. It may, however, cause anemia and malnutrition. And if you can stomach it, this link provides more information,

http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/human-biology/tapeworm-weight-loss.htm.

Many healthy ways exist to lose weight without causing potential harm to your body. Tapeworms aren’t one of these ways. But, just thinking about it may curb your appetite.

For more wary weight-loss practices see “7 Crazy Weight-Loss Methods You Should Never Try” at http://news.health.com/2013/08/15/7-crazy-weight-loss-methods-you-should-never-try/

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As a child, i recall my Mother often saying, “their eyes were bigger than their stomachs.” She referred to those, usually  children, who filled a plate with more food than could be eaten. Adults do the same, except many times they continue to eat until they become overstuffed and miserable. When we’re hungry, normal portion sizes may look too small to curb a famished appetite. American may underestimate the number of calories consumed daily by as much as 25 percent.

Unfortunately when we wolf down more food than needed, the stomach stretches and the girth grows wider. One major cause of obesity in our society is continual overindulgence from oversized portions.

Overeating isn’t new. Gluttony is consuming more food than the body requires. Even ancient documents, including the Bible, talked about gluttony. If appetite can’t be trusted, how can we determine healthful portion sizes?

To abate this growing trend of increased serving size, thus too many calories, learn what is considered as a serving size. WebMD at http://www.webmd.com/diet/control-portion-size?page=2 gives a US Department of Agriculture list of what constitutes a serving size. The article has sage advice to help people control the amount eaten. It also gives comparisons to varied objects to use instead of attempting to remember specific ounces and cups. Some examples include:

  • Vegetable or fruit:       size of your fist
  • Meats, fish, poultry:    size of a deck of cards
  • Pancake:                    size of a compact disk
  • Potato:                       size of a computer mouse       

The June 2013 issue of Food Insight also provides helpful steps to reduce portion size.

  • Step 1. Write down what and how much you consume. What do you really eat? Put your usual serving on a dish and then measure to see the actual portion size.
  • Step 2. Measure a fixed amount of some foods and drinks to see what they look like in your glasses and on your plates. I have found this very revealing. It also gives you a future guideline to know what a portion size is in your favorite bowl, glass, or dish.
  • Step 3. Measure out small amounts to eat and drink and eat slowly to satisfy hunger.
  • Step 4. Pay attention to feelings of hunger and satiety. Many of us hang on to that “Clean plate club,” especially if we are eating someone else’s food. We keep eating way beyond our satiety level. Learn and use the “push principle.” Push your plate away when you have eaten adequately.

To these I would add Step 5. Check labels on individual packaged snacks. We often assume these are one serving portions, but the label may reveal it is one and a half or two servings.

Portion control has become a universal problem. Check what you eat and make positive changes to reduce calories. The above suggestions can help.

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