HealthWatch: Avoid The Kitchen Trap


kitchenThere are many things that can sabotage a diet, but one culprit that may never have entered your mind is your kitchen. From the lighting to the dishware there are a number of hidden waistline traps. Here’s how to avoid the kitchen trap.It’s a popular home design trend — an open kitchen seamlessly segueing into a family room.

But experts say this new style may unwittingly be at the center of your weight gain.

“The average American adult gained eight pounds in the 1980s where there was little change in the ’60s and ’70s,” registered dietician and author Lisa Young said.

Young said there is a direct correlation between these bigger kitchens and packing on the pounds.

“We can now buy packages of chips and cereal that are tremendous. They have 20-plus servings per bag,” Young said.

And the more you have, the more you’ll eat.

“You might eat one chocolate chip cookie, maybe two, but after a while you’ll get bored of them. But if you have five or six different types of cookies you’ll take one of each and won’t even think twice about it,” Young said.

Have you noticed anything different about the size of dishware in recent years?

“When I look at the dinner plates that I have at home from my grandmother, they are much smaller,” said Lee Thompson of Salem, N.C.

At Fishs Eddy kitchen store in Manhattan, the trend in dinnerware — even glassware — today is bigger: “the bigger, the better.”

“When we look at the vintage plates, they are more than double the size,” store manager Diane Chan said.

“When a plate is bigger, when a bowl is bigger, when a glass is bigger, we just put more into that,” Young said.

Studies conducted by Cornell University’s Food Lab demonstrates the point. When participants are given a smaller plate, they eat smaller portions, but heap on the food when given a larger dish.

Cluttered kitchens can also contribute to weight gain. Studies show if your pantry or refrigerator is a mess you’ll grab for the first thing you see — because it’s easier.

And believe it or not lighting can play a part in how much you eat, too. High wattage lighting is said to raise stress levels, stimulating the appetite.

“Also, very dim light where you don’t see what you’re eating can contribute more,” Young said.

Perhaps the biggest culprit of all, experts say, is having a television in your kitchen.

“You are not paying attention. You are not going to eat mindfully and just gobbling and chances are you are going to see a commercial for something that probably isn’t healthy,” Young said.

That creates more food cravings.

So here’s what you want to do: first, get organized. Put healthy food like veggies and fruit in clear containers at eye level. And don’t forget about portion sizes — one serving of meat, for example, should be no larger than a deck of cards.

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