According to a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 96.4 billion pounds of food ended up in the garbage in this country in 1995. That was 27 percent of the food available for consumption in restaurants, markets, and American homes. One pound per day for every man, woman, and child. A new study is underway to update those numbers, but nobody expects them to be any better.

Right about now, you’re expecting me to tell you something like “Clean your plate, because children in Africa are starving.” Well, no. We both know that what you eat or don’t eat isn’t going to help them. But what I do want to do is remind you that following the advice we’ve been giving you in ETR to eat less helps you in two very important ways.

For one thing, when you eat less, you save money. Keeping in mind that the cost of groceries has been going up at an alarming rate. (The average price of bread, for example, has increased by about 32 percent in the last three years.)

Maybe more important, eating less just might help you live longer. An estimated 66 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, according to a 2003-4 government health survey, putting them at risk for diabetes and/or heart disease. And, as Dr. Al Sears has pointed out in these pages, eating fewer calories gives you a number of specific anti-aging benefits.

At home, it’s easy to eat less. It just means planning for and serving smaller portions.

In a restaurant, it’s a little tricky. You have to train yourself to order less. (Maybe an appetizer and a salad instead of a full dinner.) Or ordering with an eye toward the next day. (Eating only half of what’s on your plate and taking the rest home for another meal.) Or saying no to anything you know you’re just going to leave behind. (Asking for fruit or an extra serving of veggies instead of rice or potatoes.)

If you need a tad more motivation to make the effort, turning yourself into an under-consumer of food is better for the planet. Okay, it won’t end world hunger. But all that garbage rotting in landfills creates methane gas, a major contributor to global warming.

It’s well worth it, don’t you think? By limiting the amount of food you waste, you save money and add years to your life. And, yes, you do a little something to help save the planet too.

(Source: The New York Times)

[Ed. Note: Simple changes like the one Judith suggested can have a powerful effect on your health. You can get expert advice about which lifestyle choices can help you lose weight, stay fit, and improve your overall health with ETR’s FREE natural health e-letter. Sign up here.]