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Do you consider your kitchen to be the heart of your home, where the family socialises? Does it have a TV and sound system alongside the toaster and kettle? Perhaps you've invested in a gleaming double American-style fridge or installed a clutter-clearing pantry? Interior designers would applaud your stylish choices. But nutritionists would warn that the modern kitchen is actually making us fatter.
The statistics are telling. Every ten years since 1920, women have added on average half an inch to their busts, an inch to their waists and three-quarters of an inch to their hips. British women are now the third fattest in the Western world.
Back in the Twenties, most kitchens were separate, rather Spartan work zones where food was prepared. After the washing up was done, the lights would be turned off and the kitchen closed down until breakfast time. If you were caught with your head in the larder after that, it was rather embarrassing.
It's no longer just a place to make meals; it's somewhere we like to eat, relax, study, make phone calls and watch TV. As a result, we hang around there in close proximity to food, munching distractedly while surfing the net, reading the papers or helping children with their homework — and taking in hundreds of extra calories without even noticing.
Today's large, restaurant-style plates and bowls are undeniably more glamorous than the more modestly proportioned plates our parents used. Unfortunately, when we cook at home, we're likely to fill them to the brim. 'Research shows that we tend to eat everything that's on our plate,' says British dietitian Gaynor Bussell. 'You can trim off 200 calories a day just by using a smaller plate.'
If you don't want to invest in new china and glassware, the solution may be to swap around: use salad or dessert plates to serve calorific main courses and keep the big dinner plates for salad. Unearth cocktail or port glasses for your wine and keep the giant glasses for water.