Residents urged to take ‘Portion Plate’ challenge

With portion sizes increasing by two-five times over the past 20 years, Dr. Sue Pederson, an endocrinologist at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Medicine, chose to investigate portion control.
“I find that most people know what constitutes a healthy food choice,” she said. “But controlling portions and eating balanced meals present a problem.”
Pederson conducted a six-month study that showed the “portion plate” as an effective tool to help with weight loss.
The study involved 130 clinically-obese subjects with type 2 diabetes. Half of the participants were assigned to a control group and maintained their usual diet routine.
The other half were given a “portion plate” and breakfast bowl, and were asked to use the plate once daily with their largest meal and the breakfast bowl whenever they ate cereal.
The dishes proved to be effective. Those who used them were more than three times as likely to lose five percent of their body weight compared with those not using the plate and bowl.
“I was thrilled to be chosen for this study. I have problems with carbohydrates,” noted Calgarian Sharon Zentner.
“The ‘portion plate’ made me stop and think about my portions in pasta, rice, and red meat,” she added. “I realized I didn’t need all the extra fats and carbs that I was putting into my system.”
She lost 20 pounds and four inches from her waist over the six-month period, and was able to stop the medication she had required to control her diabetes.
She continued using the plate for a year after the study, and today she remains a diet-controlled diabetic.
Rooksana Randeree, a registered dietitian at Riverside Health Care Facilities, Inc. here, explained the “portion plate.”
“If you take an eight-inch plate, half of it should consist of fruits and vegetables,” she noted. “One quarter of the remaining half should be for whole grains like bread, rice, or pasta.
“The other quarter or less should be lean meat or other proteins like dry beans, peanut butter, an egg, or nuts.
“You should try to choose a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables, and also choose whole fruit and vegetables more often than juice,” Randeree added.
For general nutrition information, contact Randeree at 274-3266 ext. 4111. For information on diabetes nutrition, call Trisha Wood at 274-3266 ext. 4450.