How Not To Waste Nutrients By Overeating

Overeating a serious issue among people in the United States and Europe. Nearly everyone eats much more food than they need to survive, and a lot of this issue stems from a clean plate mentality. Essentially, this means that people feel the need to eat all the food on their plate so that none of the food is wasted as trash. An idea like this is a nice one, but it is not completely accurate. As the food goes through the digestive tract, it pulls out the nutrients it needs and compacts the rest as waste. The digestive tract may take up more nutrients than it needs for storage, which can lead to weight gain. Either way, most of the food’s nutrients are still being put to waste. This must be avoided.

Nutritionists, doctors, and other life scientists have placed a large amount of time researching the best eating habits and how to encourage people to make healthier choices. The three biggest tips are to eat with your eyes, be conscious of the amount of sugar and salt in one’s meal, and to rework one’s inclinations toward comfort foods. These habits can be especially helpful around holidays like Thanksgiving where people tend to overeat as a tradition. Ultimately, implementing these habits into daily life achieve two important goals. The first is that food waste is reduced, and the second is that the body becomes a healthier haven for other activities through which life can be enjoyed.

Watch While You Eating

Researchers have found that people who eat with their eyes and mouths eat healthier portions. Visual stimulation is just as important as gustatory and olfactory stimulation during a meal. To do this, one should stop whatever is being done and focus on the meal. A person can use meal times to nourish the mind and the body. While the body takes up the nutrients, the mind can take a break and relax, leaving one prepared for the rest of the day. By the end of the meal, the body will feel good rather than bloated and sick. Some tips to accomplish this include:

  • Cut out technology during meals. This means moving away from one’s workplace and leaving the phone and other electronics behind.
  • Spend time putting meals on plates. This process helps encourage one to look at the food and control how much is eaten through direct portion control.
  • Chew food for longer than usual and think about the flavors and textures.

Reduce Sugars and Salts

Sugars and salts are vital to human health when eaten in healthy portions, but they present serious health dangers when eaten in large servings. Sugar and salt are especially tempting because they cultivate strong responses on the taste buds. At first, reducing intake of these ingredients will be hard, but one’s taste buds will get used to it with time. Beyond this, sugar intake can be reduced by ensuring that enough manganese is eaten as this metal appears to play a key role in sugar metabolism, meaning it will make one feel fuller for longer.

In this article from, Dr. Todd Watts explains that Manganese is an important part of our diet found in foods like olive oil, eggs, nuts, and grains. It is responsible for helping us metabolize protein, cholesterol, and carbohydrates. In fact, some studies have shown lower manganese levels in people who struggle with high blood sugar, particularly those with diabetes. Additionally, when proteins and cholesterol are also digested, the body has more energy and so the desire to eat will go down. As a result, sugar and salt intake can be expected to go down. When craving a sweet snack, it is best to avoid the temptation altogether in most cases, but sometimes it is okay to indulge. In this case, one should slowly eat the sweet treat, enjoying the tastes and textures with slow chewing. Other snacks can have high levels of salt, but this too can be avoided. 

  • Remember that many processed snack foods are designed to encourage overeating by packing the snacks with salt and sugar that are digested quickly. Most unprocessed foods lack this dangerous feature.
  • Raw veggies can provide the savory flavor and crunch people love, while delivering more fiber and less sodium; roasted, unsalted nuts can also replace snacks like chips.
  • As always, each bite should be chewed slowly so that the feeling and flavor of the food can be processed and truly enjoyed. Look at the snack while eating it too!

Don’t Give to Temptation

Comfort food cravings can be a serious problem in forging a healthy diet. Comfort foods taste good and are hard to avoid. Cravings are hard to resist and are a huge barrier for people trying to lose weight. When one gives in to the cravings, reward centers in the brain activate and help create a habitual pattern of eating in response to emotion. Thankfully, this habit can be overcome with a relatively simple plan. As soon as a craving hits, one should consider eating a raw vegetable, writing in a journal, or talking to a friend. These strategies also work well with the pause strategy, which encourages avoiding eating the comfort food to ten to twenty minutes.

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