The Shocking Truth About Portion Sizes

Since being overweight increases risk for nine cancers (including breast and prostate cancer), maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best ways to reduce your risk. When I’m counseling clients and giving tips to help them lose weight, one thing always seems to surprise people the most: what a true serving size is.

Did you know the serving size of cooked pasta is ½ cup? Most restaurants will dish out close to 2 cups of pasta, the equivalent of 4 servings. We live in such a portion-large environment that we all (including registered dietitians!) tend to have a distorted view of what a serving size is.

Seeing super-sized restaurant portions causes us to have a skewed perception of how much to serve in our own homes, leading to larger portions all around. Continue reading

Is your city getting healthier? It can help prevent cancer

Memphis is getting more dog parks; San Antonio has slightly lowered its death rate from diabetes, and in Orlando, the percent of residents walking or biking to work has nudged upwards, according to a new trends report released today. These cities — all ranked among the least fit cities in the United States — are among the 50 largest US metropolitan areas that the report highlights key health and fitness changes over the past five years.canstockphoto16502958

The report by the The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) analyzes health behaviors and community environment, many both directly — and indirectly – relate to cancer prevention.

Health behavior indicators included looking at how many vegetables and fruits residents ate, how active they were in the previous month, and if they were smokers. Then the authors gathered data on chronic health problems of the residents, such as the percent of residents that were obese, and/or diagnosed with diabetes, asthma and heart disease.  Environmental indicators of good health included the numbers of recreational centers, parks, tennis courts and farmer’s markets were in the city. Continue reading

Apps, Diets and More: Steps for Weight Loss Success

In today’s CRU, we highlighted a new study looking at whether using a phone app helped overweight people lose weight. In this study, overall the phone app did not make a difference for most people, but the few participants who actually used it did lose weight. Finding ways to help people lose weight successfully is important because excess body fatness now links to 9 cancers, including post-menopausal breast, endometrial and advanced prostate.A blank notebook, green apple, pencil, measuring tape on wooden

For me there are 3 important takeaways from this study – the questions is not whether apps work for weight loss – but what does it really take for successful and sustained weight loss.

1.    Be ready to commit.
Wanting to lose weight is an important first step, but not enough. Start by developing your specific goal, identify the barriers, and understand that you will be working hard to make changes that will last. If you decide you aren’t ready for full commitment, you might choose one small change to improve health – like adding 5-10 minutes of walking to your day. That, by itself, won’t lead to weight loss, but that may help you be confident in your ability to begin to make changes. Continue reading