Feeling guilty about wasting that morsel on your plate, think again! Eating more than what you want just to finish can lead to added kilos with a huge price. The need to finish all that is on the plate comes from pre-scripted behaviour, rooted in our childhood. I find it such a common habit and hindrance to weight management.
The price we pay is enormous, both individually and as a community.
People with obesity have double the risk of heart disease and stroke and more than triple the risk of diabetes. A weight gain of 5-10 kgs increases a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes to twice that of individuals who have not gained weight. The prevalence of degenerative arthritis, kidney and gall bladder stones, gout, varicose veins, chronic inflammation, reduced sleep and sleep apnoea increases in proportion to the degree of excess weight. Obesity increases risk of some types of cancer-endometrial, colon, gall bladder, prostate and post-menopausal breast cancer. Research suggests that gaining as little as 2 kgs at the age of 50 years or later could increase the risk of breast cancer by 30 percent. Overweight and obesity increases the risk of early puberty, polycystic ovaries, irregular menstrual cycles, infertility and complications in pregnancy like gestational diabetes and still births, low levels of testosterone and breast development in boys. It also increases the risk of birth defects and large babies.
The economic burden of obesity to an individual and a nation can hardly be exaggerated. Diseases related to obesity, lead to loss of productivity and burden on healthcare systems. Lost productivity due to diet related diseases can be huge. Research in the US indicates that medical bills on account of ill health due to obesity amounted US $ 51.6 billion and led to a loss of productivity of US $ 3.9 billion.
Ecologically, double size means double that carbon footprint! Estimates suggest that an obese person contributes a tonne more CO2 than an average person in a year. In other words, a lean population of a billion would emit 1000 million tonne less CO2 compared to a super-sized one. Overweight people eat more, use more food and are more likely to avoid public transport making it doubly bad for the environment. Also, food production is a major source of greenhouse gases.
So, do not worry about leaving a morsel on your plate when pleasantly full and better still serve yourself only as much as you will be able to finish.