Just a Few More Bites: Defining Moderate Eating Varies by Individual, Study Finds

Though eating in moderation might be considered practical advice for healthy nutrition, a new University of Georgia study suggests the term’s wide range of interpretations may make it an ineffective guide for losing or maintaining weight.

The more people like a food, the more forgiving their definitions of moderation are, said the study’s lead author Michelle vanDellen, an assistant professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of psychology.

“Moderation is a relative term,” she said. “When people talk about eating in moderation, it doesn’t allow them a clear, concrete way to guide their behavior.

“For both thin and overweight people, people tend to think of moderation through their own objective lens, and they tend to exaggerate what moderation is.”

The study, published in the journal Appetite, describes the relative meanings attached to moderation based on perceptions. The findings are based on the results of different studies the team conducted in the lab and online.

“We asked people to tell us what they think moderation is, in terms of quantity,” said vanDellen, an expert on self-control. “For instance, the research team asked participants to define how many cookies would be moderation, how many would be indulgence and how many would be considered what you should eat.

“People do think of moderation as less than overeating, so it does suggest less consumption. But they do think of it as more than what they should eat. So moderation is more forgiving of their current desires. … The more you like a food, the more of it you think you can eat in moderation.”

The study adds to the growing body of literature that suggests people are poor judges of the amounts of food they’re eating. And in terms of the rising rates of obesity, vanDellen notes a general backlash against dieting.

“People are now saying, ‘Diets don’t work; you shouldn’t go on a diet. You should just live by the rule of moderation,'” she said. “This is an increasingly popular belief. There are entire healthy eating movements oriented toward this idea of moderation.”

She cites the many stigmatizing features associated with judging people for being overweight as one possible source of this reaction. These movements are very sensitive to the negative effects of those stigmas.

“But those movements assume people can actually be good judges of what they’re eating and what constitutes an appropriate amount,” vanDellen said. “The fact that those movements are gaining in popularity at the same time we are learning people are not good at estimating things like moderation suggests there’s a lot of room to be concerned about growing rates of obesity.”

Source: The University of Georgia

Read more:

Overweight Kids Eat Only a Bit More Per Meal . . . . .

Chinese-style Smoked Seafood with Tea


1 lb seafood (peeled and deveined prawns, scallops, fish fillet chunks)
2 green onions, cut in quarters
5 slices ginger


3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp dry sherry
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp five-spice powder


1/3 cup plain skim milk yogurt
1/3 cup 1% buttermilk
3/4 cup finely diced honeydew and cantaloupe

Tea Smoke Mixture

1/2 cup raw white rice
1/2 cup black tea leaves
1/2 cup sugar


  1. Crush green onions and ginger, place in deep dish. Add marinade ingredients and seafood and marinate for about 20 minutes. Thread seafood on bamboo skewers if desired for easy handling.
  2. Combine all dip ingredients in small bowl.
  3. To prepare for tea smoke, use aluminum foil to line large pan that has a tight-fitting lid. Spread mixed tea smoke materials evenly in pan. Oil cake or round rack. Place rack above mixture in pan and cover.
  4. Increase heat to medium-high and allow smoker to heat up, about 4 minutes. (Turn on ventilation fan in your house if you are doing this indoors.)
  5. When material is smoking, place seafood on rack; cover and allow to cook and smoke, about 3 minutes per side. Serve warm or cold with dip.

Cooking Tip

Tea smoking can easily be done on a barbecue if you want to keep your kitchen smoke free. Put the pan with the tea mixture directly on the coals and the food on the barbecue rack.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Heart Smart Chinese Cooking

In Pictures: Rascal (ラスカル) Character Foods

From Bakery Cafe in Osaka, Japan

Evidence of Hearing Damage in Teens Prompts Researchers’ Warning

See large image . . . . .

New research into the ringing-ear condition known as tinnitus points to an alarming level of early hearing damage in young people who are exposed to loud music, prompting a warning from a leading Canadian researcher in the field.

“It’s a growing problem and I think it’s going to get worse,” says Larry Roberts of McMaster’s Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, the only Canadian author of a paper published today in the journal Scientific Reports. “My personal view is that there is a major public health challenge coming down the road in terms of difficulties with hearing.”

The researchers interviewed and performed detailed hearing tests on a group of 170 students between 11 and 17 years old, learning that almost all of them engage in “risky listening habits” – at parties, clubs and on personal listening devices – and that more than a quarter of them are already experiencing persistent tinnitus, a ringing or buzzing in the ears that more typically affects people over 50.

Further testing of the same subjects – all students at the same school in São Paulo, Brazil – showed that even though they could still hear as well as their peers, those experiencing tinnitus were more likely to have a significantly reduced tolerance for loud noise, which is considered a sign of hidden damage to the nerves that are used in processing sound, damage that can foretell serious hearing impairment later in life.

Roberts explained that when the auditory nerves are damaged, brain cells increase their sensitivity to their remaining inputs, which can make ordinary sounds seem louder. Increased loudness perception is an indication of nerve injury that cannot be detected by the audiogram, the standard clinical test for hearing ability. Neuroscience research indicates that such “hidden hearing loss” caused by exposure to loud sounds in the early years deepens over the life span, worsening one’s hearing ability later in life.

“The levels of sound exposure that are quite commonplace in our environment, particularly among youth, appear to be sufficient to produce hidden cochlear injuries.” says Roberts. “The message is, ‘Protect your ears.'”

Roberts worked closely with Brazilian researcher Tanit Ganz Sanchez – who led the study – and and her colleagues at the University of São Paulo School of Medicine. The data they gathered was especially rich and detailed, Roberts said, creating a more complete picture of what’s happening to young people who may not be aware that they may be hurting themselves when they listen to loud music.

It’s common after listening to loud music to experience a ringing in the ears for the next day or so, Roberts said. More than half the students in the study said it had happened to them. This brief tinnitus is an early warning sign of vulnerability to the injurious effects of noise exposure, according to Roberts. Testing showed that 28 per cent of the study participants had already developed persistent tinnitus.

The 28 per cent of participants with persistent tinnitus also showed heightened sensitivity to loud sounds, indicating that the neurons that transmit sounds to the brain may have been damaged, said Roberts. While some other forms of hearing loss can be repaired, such nerve damage cannot be undone. The only sure solution, he says, is prevention.

Roberts, a veteran researcher and advocate, compares the evolving campaign against loud music to the early years of the campaign against smoking, in the sense that many people have no idea that they are hurting themselves, and would take steps to prevent injury if they had the right information.

Source: EurekAlert!

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