What Does Moderation Mean Anyway?
Michelle vanDellen, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Georgia, led a study that looked at the concept of moderation as it relates to healthy eating.
One of the things the study sought to test is the popular idea that strict diets which disallow certain foods are overly restrictive, and that eating in moderation is enough to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
While the idea of eating in moderation is a good one, the study found that as specific advice, “eat in moderation” is likely not enough.
For one thing, “moderation” means different things to different people, so the term is not concrete enough to provide really specific helpful advice.
Interestingly the study also found the more a person liked a certain food, the larger the portion size of that food they were willing to describe as “moderate.”
This study, and others like it, point to the difficulty almost everyone has in correctly judging a healthy portion size, even when they are trying very hard to. This underlines the need for careful, objective, and measurable guidelines regarding healthy portion size.
Karen L. Leibowitz, MD