Think 20% -- More or Less.
While most Americans stop eating is when they are full, those in leaner cultures[i]stop eating when they are no longer hungry. There is probably a big calorie gap between the point where an Okinawan says, “I’m no longer hungry” and where an American says, “I’m full.” Actually the Okinawans even have a word for it. They call the concept, “hara hachi bu” – eating until you’re just 80% full.
Most of us are about as accustomed with Okinawa, as we are with eating until we are no longer hungry. We are best off dishing out all the food we think we want beforewe start to eat.
• Think 20% less. Dish out 20% less of whatever you think you might want to eat. You probably won’t miss it. In most of our studies, when people eat 20% less, they never realize it. If they eat 30% less, they realize it, but 20% is still under the radar screen.
• For healthy foods, think 20% more. This works great for fruits and vegetables. If we cut down how much pasta we dished out by 20%, we might want to increase the veggies by 20%.
[i]Our sins of dietary excess can be compared to those of French people (French Women Don’t Get Fat), tropical people (The Tropical Diet), Mediterranean people (The Mediterranean Diet), and even Okinawans (The Okinawa Diet Plan).
For 30 years my Lab and I have focused on discovering secret answers to help people live better lives. Some of these relate to health and happiness (and often to food). Please share whatever you find useful.
This video of one of my post-docs gives a flavor of one type of research that we've done: