Doctors warn of dangers of obesity, smaller portion sizes needed

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – According to doctors across Region 8, portion sizes have been getting way out of control lately. Doctor Mary Hartwig told said people are often surprised to hear just how little they need to eat in one sitting. Hartwig said individuals with no health problems oftentimes eat too much and by changing a little, they can live longer and healthier lives.

"We are kind of victims of our own success. That is to say in our society our food source and food supply is so safe," said Hartwig. "Eating all the time is just not a good idea. You totally lose track of what you're eating."

Hartwig said a 3 ounce serving of steak is all a person needs in one meal. Many times that steak is three or four sizes larger.

"The largest part of a meal is really your low starch, low calorie foods. That's really ideal," said Hartwig. "It's easy to lose sight of the fact that a lot of what we drink has a huge amount of carbohydrates in it. A carbohydrate is a food that breaks down to sugar in your blood."

Click here for more information on obesity in the United States.

Hartwig said an easy way to reduce the amount of food consumed is to only fill up one plate instead of serving the family in pots and pans. That allows people to eat from their plate, and second servings are based on choice. Another way to feed your family is to serve meals on smaller plates. Hartwig said the meals look larger.

"A piece of bread is a carbohydrate and the end product of the metabolism of that is going to be sugar," said Hartwig. "To put about two cups of sugar into a gallon of tea, that amount of sugar is the same sweetness as a soft drink. We're accustomed to that level of sugar."

According to Hartwig and Doctor Shane Speights, individuals watching their weight should reduce soda consumption.

"Empty calories that are in these soda cans and are in these sugar drinks and unfortunately, and parents don't understand this, if your child is under one year of age, they don't need juice. They don't need soda. They don't need tea," said Speights.

"If you drink a lot of that in the course of a day, you're going to have almost a days' worth of carbohydrate just in what you drink," said Hartwig.

"It's the patients' responsibility. It's an individual decision that everybody makes. Hey, this is really not the best for me. It's probably shaving a few years off my life and I should probably change my habits," said Speights.

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