Obesity

How Low Calorie Meals Prepared by Chefs Can Inhibit Obesity

According to a recent study carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the intake of fruits has reduced in Americans, while the amount of vegetables consumed is constant. More people are opting to eat outside their home and a research study carried out by nutritionists at Penn State’s Department of Nutritional Sciences has found that restaurant chefs can prepare low calorie meals and play a significant role in inhibiting the growing rate of obesity in the United States.

The results of this research study funded by the National Institutes of Health were published in the November 2010 issue of the journal Obesity.

Knowledge Gained by the Research on Low Calorie Meals by Restaurant Chefs:

  • The researchers tried to assess the perception of culinary executives, corporate and restaurant chefs, kitchen managers and restaurant owners while they served healthy foods to their clients.
  • 432 participants belonging from the Research Chefs Association or the American Culinary Federation interacted at six meetings during the spring and summer of 2008 as part of the research.
  • According to 72 percent of these participants, they could successfully reduce 10 percent calories from the food prepared by them without their customer’s notice.
  • 21 percent of them even claimed that they could reduce calories from their preparation as high as 25 percent keeping the business intact.
  • The researchers believe that such a small effort can bring down the excess body weight issues in this country significantly.
  • But 7 percent chefs completely lacked any idea on the amount of calorie present in the food they prepared. 49 percent were familiar on this topic slightly.
  • Chefs were ready to prepare new reduced-calorie foods instead of changing their existing meals as such a move posed a threat to the reputation and business of the restaurant.
  • Some of the challenging aspects for preparing reduced-calorie foods were taste (71 percent of chefs agreed on it), low demand of these foods (32 percent chefs believed so), skills and training of staff (24 percent) and high cost of ingredients (18 percent thought so).
  • Most of the chefs agreed that fat can be reduced in the food by adding more fruits and vegetables.
  • Lack of knowledge on terms like “reducing calories per bite” was clearly found in restaurant chefs.
  • The present study emphasizes the fact that though the choice of eating out rests with us, chefs can make these choices better before us by preparing low calorie meals.

In the United States of America, pre packaged diet meals are extremely popular. With busy schedules, in spite of being aware about healthy food choices, one ends up eating the wrong kind of food. Pre packaged diet meals are cooked by reputed chefs keeping in mind the taste and nutrition of the food. They are packaged in perfect portions and make dieting and weight loss an absolute no brainer. According to Consumer Reports, Americans spend $2 billion dollars a year on pre packaged and frozen diet meals.

Advantages of Pre Packaged Diet Meals

  • It is easy to stick to the diet plan and eat as many calories as stipulated.
  • It is fuss free and does not need any calculations on the part of the individual on a diet. The packaged diet meals are scientifically planned and ensure complete nutrition.
  • Freshly put together weight loss meals are also prepared by many exclusive chefs and caterers which could be delivered to your door or could be made available for pick up.
  • It is much easier to track calories and along with weight loss counseling results could be seen much easily.

Disadvantages of Pre Packaged Diet Meals

  • One of the major disadvantages includes a high content of sodium which is often added to prevent the food from going bad. Excess sodium can lead to excess water retention in the body and can inhibit the weight loss struggle.
  • The taste of the food is also bland as compared to freshly cooked food.
  • Another common complaint is the dearth of variety. However, nowadays a lot of meal providers take care of this complaint by offering customized solutions.
  • It could cost a lot more than home cooked food.

References

1. Chef’s opinions about reducing the calorie count of menu items:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20814414

2. Effect of free prepared meal and incentivized weight loss program
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20935338

3. Chef’s opinions of restaurant portion sizes:
http://www.nature.com/oby/journal/v15/n8/full/oby2007248a.html

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