When it comes to food portions, modern society has become a society of extremes. On one hand, some people have increased their portions to the point of driving rates of obesity through the roof. On the other hand, another segment of society has reduced portions to such a point that their bones show and they look malnourished. The extremism that is behind such outrageous eating habits leads us to a concept called portion distortion. The problem is that extremism in either direction will inevitably lead a person into serious health problems.
Portion distortion can occur for a variety of reasons. Some people will start eating more or less than a normal portion because of an impaired hunger response or emotional distress. Others simply get caught up in eating habits that cause them to either overeat or under-eat. Perhaps the most common reason for portion distortion is a reason most doctors, food manufacturers, and the general population is not talking about.
For years, scientists and doctors have demonized healthy saturated fats. In place of fats, they taught people to eat diets low in fat and high in carbohydrates like grains. Food manufacturers joined the march towards low fat, creating all sorts of low fat food options by replacing fat with sugar. Fast food places joined in the movement by filling people with tons of wheat-based bread, super-sized french fries, and gallons of soda. This just added more and more carbohydrates and sugar to the pile. The end result of all this effort was not a healthier society. Today the epidemics of diabetes, obesity and heart disease are way out of control. But, how is this possible? Surely, the demon was saturated fat, right? Wrong! The demon was sugar and too many carbohydrates, as study after study is finally starting to emerge and report. On the other extreme, it is little surprise that those who end up loosing too much weight are avoiding healthy fats like the plague too. Strange as it may seem, these outcomes have directly effected portion sizes. In essence, when society turns to eating mostly a diet composed of sugar as their primary source of energy, what the result ends up being is addictive eating behaviors that lead to extreme outcomes as the overwhelming data is now showing in the scientific literature.
Because saturated fats burn slower than sugars as an energy source, athletes are starting to realize the benefits of replacing carbohydrates with saturated fats to create greater endurance. In essence, from an energy perspective, a slower burning energy source is going to make a person less hungry, which will tend to reduce portion sizes over time to a more normal portion size. As long as a person reduces their sugar intake at the same time, especially the artificial sugars people get from beverages like soda, the body will not see the need to store the excess as fat or develop the resulting insulin resistance that runs rampant in society today. Alternatively, saturated fats are extremely important in the development of hormones. When your body can create hormones properly, this helps to regulate all sorts of bodily factors, even potentially the mental factors that drive portion over-reduction in anorexics. In other words, portion control factors may be directly related to a modern saturated fat deficiency and a carbohydrate and sugar overload. Especially in the case of obesity, modern people eat far less saturated fats than people from a century ago. Yet, back then, people did not suffer with the modern epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease as people of today do. Long ago, portion sizes were much closer to normal than today also.