Hey, guys, they're not girlie-man portions, they're healthy portions

who prepared their meals were given the pyramid and told what sort of servings the pyramid called for. We also told them to choose lean meats and low-fat foods. But making choices and estimating serving sizes is just harder to do, and it obviously allows more room for error," Carson said.

Both groups added certain easy-to-measure items to the diets for needed nutrients, such as an 8-ounce glass of milk, a piece of fruit, or a cup of salad, she said.

Hannum said the study is important because it shows that portion control is likely a key factor for many people who want to lose weight. "Some diets have been popular lately because they promise you can eat all you want of certain foods, and people like to hear that. This study shows how important portion control is in any weight-loss diet."

Hannum also said that more and more people are choosing not to invest large amounts of time in meal preparation, and, when people eat in restaurants regularly, they're vulnerable to weight gain from the large portions that are usually served. "People tend to consume the amount of food that's placed before them," she said.

Because packaged entrees are good-tasting and nutritionally balanced, they provide a good alternative to restaurant fast food when consumers don't have the time or the inclination to prepare a meal, she added


Contact: Phyllis Picklesimer, Agricultural Communications
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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