As consumers continue to pack on extra pounds, and food prices are on the rise, thinking about portion size may be the key to saving both calories and money. 

How do you know a reasonable portion of food when you see it? Visualize the objects mentioned below when eating out, planning a meal, or grabbing a snack. For example, the amount of meat recommended as part of a healthful meal is 3-4 ounces—and it will look about the same size as a deck of cards.

What normal portion sizes should look like:

  • 1 oz. meat: size of a matchbox
  • 3 oz. meat: size of a deck of cards or bar of soap—the recommended portion for a meal
  • 8 oz. meat: size of a thin paperback book
  • 3 oz. fish: size of a checkbook
  • 1 oz. cheese: size of 4 dice
  • Medium potato: size of a computer mouse
  • 2 Tbs. peanut butter: size of a ping pong ball
  • 1/2 cup pasta: size of a tennis ball
  • Average bagel: size of a hockey puck. It’s common now for bakeries and grocery stores to carry jumbo bagels that measure 4 ¼ inches across and contain 300-400 calories each. A regular, 3-inch-diameter bagel has about 150 calories and counts as 2 servings of bread in the grain group).

To eat smaller portions try the following ideas: Read the rest of this entry »

Earthworms studied in agricultural fields have been found to contain organic chemicals from household products and manure, indicating that such substances are entering the food chain.

Manure and biosolids, the solid byproduct of wastewater treatment, were applied to the fields as fertilizer. Earthworms continuously ingest soils for nourishment and can accumulate the chemicals present in the soil.

The chemicals investigated are considered indicators of human and animal waste sources and include a range of active ingredients in common household products such as detergents, antibacterial soaps, fragrances, and pharmaceuticals. Some of the detected chemicals are naturally occurring such as plant and fecal sterols and fragrances. All of these chemicals tend to be concentrated in the municipal waste distribution and disposal process and are referred to as anthropogenic waste indicators (AWI).

U.S. Geological Survey Scientists and their colleague from Colorado State University at Pueblo published their new findings last week in Environmental Science and Technology.

The results demonstrate that organic chemicals introduced to the environment via land application of biosolids and manure are transferred to earthworms and enter the food chain.

Read the rest of this entry »