A chicken curry and rice meal is now 53% larger than it was in 1993, The Daily Mail reported, and crumpets and garlic bread are nearly 30% larger. A bagel has increased in size by nearly 25%.
As the obesity crisis worsens, fingers are being pointed to identify the factors that may be responsible - the BHF said that oversized food portions were also contributing to heart disease, currently the UK's single biggest killer.
The article, originally printed by The Times, reported chief executive Simon Gillespie from the BHF saying: “We urgently need a government review of portion sizes in the UK,” said Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the BHF. We are calling on supermarkets and manufacturers to take their share of responsibility for how much we eat.”
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MAKES YOU BLOAT: Processed Food
Although tasty, TV dinners, canned soup or vegetables, condiments and sauces can cause bloating. Foods that contain a high amount of sodium cause the body to retain more water, says Rosanna Lee, <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/pub/rosanna-lee/23/79b/1b3">a nutrition educator and community health promoter</a> based in Toronto. This often happens because our bodies are trying to dilute salt to maintain a balance of electrolytes.
MAKES YOU BLOAT: Lots Of Carbs
Pasta, bagels, cereal, rice and other foods that have a high amount of carbohydrates tend to cause your body to store three times more water compared to protein, Lee says. Instead of loading up on carbs, add more lean proteins like chicken breast or salmon.
MAKES YOU BLOAT: Cruciferous Vegetables
You may finally have a reason not to eat your vegetables. Veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale and collard greens have been found to cause bloating. "These foods contain tiny sugars that are difficult to digest for certain individuals, causing unwanted gas," Lee says.
MAKES YOU BLOAT: Sugar Substitutes
Sugar alcohol sweeteners like mannitol, maltitol and sorbitol tend to cause bloating in the form of stomach gas. If you do use sugar substitutes, aim for alternatives like honey, agave, yellow, brown or white sugar in small amounts to sweeten your foods.
MAKES YOU BLOAT: Carbonated Drinks
Pop, fizzy water or other carbonated beverages can also cause excessive bloating. If you're hooked on your daily Diet Coke, you may also want to leave the can open before drinking it, or gently shake it to let out some carbonation. Adding ice can also cut carbonation.
MAKES YOU BLOAT: Legumes
Beans, peas and lentils are also culprits. However, this doesn’t mean you can never have your favourite bean burrito. "Once your body gets used to digesting such foods, the symptoms of bloating might actually ease up. If you are not sure how much legumes you should be eating, try a little bit at a time and gradually increase your serving size according to your comfort level," she says.
MAKES YOU BLOAT: Fibre Supplements
Individuals who take inulin or psyllium with their meals may also experience bloating. "Although it's beneficial in fighting constipation, too much fibre at once might have the opposite effect," Lee says. If you have a high-fibre diet, don’t forget to drink plenty of water with your foods and supplements. Fibre absorbs water and this makes it easier for it to move through the digestive tract.
RELIEVES BLOATING: Cooked Vegetables
But what relieves bloating? Eating vegetables cooked versus raw actually reduces the amount of gas your body produces while digesting, Lee says. "The process of cooking breaks down some of the tough fibres so your body doesn't have to." And remember, aim to eat vegetables that are non-cruciferous to reduce gas.
RELIEVES BLOATING: Garlic
Studies have found that <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-90644/Is-garlic-natures-best-medicine.html" target="_blank">garlic stimulates digestion</a>. It is also considered an antifugal, antiviral and antibacterial food that can help our bodies break down foods that lead to gas.
RELIEVES BLOATING: Melons
Watermelons contain 92 per cent water and are an excellent choice to prevent bloating. Melons, including honeydew and cantaloupe, also help your body flush out excess sodium.
RELIEVES BLOATING: Citrus Fruits
Oranges and grapefruits are loaded with vitamin C and fibre, but also contain 80 to 90 per cent water which is ideal for preventing bloating and gas.
RELIEVES BLOATING: Pineapple
This tropical fruit contains an enzyme called bromelain that breaks down proteins and promotes healthy digestion, Lee says. Pineapples are also largely water-based at 85 per cent.
RELIEVES BLOATING: Low Sodium Foods
Foods that contain between 5 to 14 per cent sodium and have the <a href="http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/food-aliment/sodium-eng.php" target="_blank">average daily intake amount for your age,</a> are also good choices. "Less sodium in your diet not only helps control your blood pressure, but it also helps stave off bloating."
RELIEVES BLOATING: Water
Drinking water will help you flush excess salt in your body, while keeping things moving.
RELIEVES BLOATING: Yogurt
The healthy or “good” bacteria found in yogurt can promote gut bacteria balance and reduce excess gas that may build up in your digestive system over time.
RELIEVES BLOATING: Selected Supplements
Enzymes or probiotic supplements have been found to reduce bloating by helping your body break down complex carbohydrates and certain sugars.
RELIEVES BLOATING: Tea
Studies have found that drinking ginger, peppermint or fennel tea helps reduce bloating as well. You can also take these in herbal supplement forms, but it is best to consult a doctor before you do.
The BHF looked at 245 food products sold in major supermarkets Sainsbury's, Tesco, Morrisons and Asda comparing portion sizes with those recorded by the Food Standards Agency in 1993.
The Times went on to say that the findings may jeopardise new food labelling that is rolling out across the country. Confusion around portion sizes, they said, may mean that people still end up more than they should.
However - Britain was warned about this by Sustain, the charity which lobbies for healthier food. Five years ago, The Telegraph reported that average portion sizes had increased over the last 20 years - for instance chocolate mousses had more than doubled in size, while crisp bags had also become bigger.
James Erlichman, writing for The Guardian, said: " the supermarkets and big packaged food manufacturers employ ..."supersizing" tactics – by increasing pack size ("50% extra free!") or by tempting us with BOGOFs – buy-one-get-one-free offers (although both ploys often involve a discreet rise in the pack price before the "free" enticement is promoted, reducing the real bargain but not the extra calories)."
At present, British people are fatter than ever - on average, a person is nearly three stone heavier than a person of the same sex and weight 50 years ago.
Professor Jimmy Bell, obesity specialist at Imperial College, London told the BBC: "It's a war between our bodies and the demands our body makes, and the accessibility that modern society gives us with food. And as a scientist I feel really depressed, because we are losing the war against obesity."