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Apr 8, 2013

new reasons to eat less

Big portions and high-fat, high-calorie processed foods are the public enemies of good health. Excess weight puts you at higher risk for heart disease and diabetes --you knew that. But a growing stack of research links obesity to an increased risk of most types of cancer, too. Our panel of experts recommends scaling back on overeating -- and we agree.

Eating too much not only packs on visible pounds, it also crowds internal organs with fat that fuels the development of heart disease and diabetes. But extra calories are dangerous for a second reason: Digestion creates destructive particles called free radicals that play a role in a host of health problems, from joint pain to cancer. More food, more digestion, more free radicals. Eating just enough is a challenge in our super-size society, but it can be done.

• Dole out single servings. Don't put platters of food on the table or sit with an open bag of snacks.

• Eat at home. Women who eat out more often than five times a week consume 300 calories more each day than home diners.

• Bulk up your meals with extra vegetables. These add fiber, water, and heft to your meal -- three qualities that make your tummy feel fuller while you're eating hundreds fewer calories. Researchers say this strategy stretches the stomach wall, activating "fullness receptors."

• Eat only until you're 80 percent full. This ancient Japanese custom gives your mind time to register what you've eaten. Leave the table when you still have room for a little more. Within 20 minutes, you'll realize you feel satisfied. (Simple Health Secrets)