Since they can't seem to figure out portions, Americans need to give up membership in the "clean plate" club, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.
It's a uniquely American compulsion, researchers say, with origins in a much different time in U.S. history. Ironically, the notion of the "clean plate" was introduced as an incentive for Americans to conserve food, not gorge themselves.
It meant put only what you need on your plate, said Melanie Polk, director of nutrition education at the institute.
A survey shows that 70 percent of Americans belong to the club, at a time when 65 percent of the country is reportedly overweight or obese.
The problem is that being overweight is linked to increased risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.