Portion Control – 5 Tips to Overcome Portion Distortion

By | February 24, 2010

The obesity epidemic is fueled by the increasing food portion sizes in and out of the home. We consume more food than is needed for our daily calorie needs.

Portion distortion is common and pervasive. Restaurants and fast food outlets are not the only places serving bigger portions. We self serve ourselves larger portions at home. Most people are eating more and yet, underestimating their actual calorie intake. Portion distortion can be contributing to your belly fat and/or obesity related health problems.

Here are 5 tips to overcome portion distortion with portion control.

1. Be aware of portion sizes

Be conscious of how much you are eating and what a healthy portion is. When eating out at restaurants that serve large meals, divide out the food so you eat a portion that is best for you and take away the remaining to be eaten later. Otherwise, split your meals with someone who is dining with you, if he or she does not mind sharing.

2. Eat slowly

We live in a fast paced society where time is of essence. We are often eating on the go or in a hurry to finish our food. When you realise you are no longer hungry, you would have over eaten.

Develop a habit of eating and chewing your food slowly. By doing so, your brain and stomach have time to register when you are full.

3. Consume more low calorie foods

We can take advantage of portion distortion by increasing portion sizes of low calorie vegetables and fruits. They are high in nutrient and fiber that fills you up. When low calorie vegetables and fruits are eaten before a main meal, they displace the higher calorie foods so you eat less of the latter.

For snacks, low calorie fruits and vegetables are great alternatives to processed foods as they are healthy and satiating.

4. Smaller plate

People eat more when more food put in front of them. Given a big plate, you are likely to fill it up and eat beyond fullness.

Instead, use dessert plates. A smaller plate means smaller portion, so you don’t end up stuffing yourself and eating mindlessly.

5. Nutrition label

Calories per serving on food labels can be misleading. Since there is no standard serving size, manufacturers set their own serving sizes to fool you into believing that there are fewer calories since calories per serving are always less than total calories of the entire content (which is not shown on label).

Take for example, the following 3 brands of cereal from the same company.

Weetabix: 127kcal per serving (serving size = 37.5g)

Crunchy Bran: 122kcal per serving (serving size = 40g)

Oatibix Flakes: 114kcal per serving (serving size = 30g)

Do you notice the different serving sizes?

Most adults can easily eat more than one serving of cereal at one sitting. While you may think you only had 127kcal, total calories consumed can exceed 200-300kcal !

Learn to read the label carefully. Your should calculate the total calories for the entire food package. This enables you to get a better idea of the actual calorie intake based on the amount of food you consume, rather than some random serving sizes concocted by the food manufacturer.

3 thoughts on “Portion Control – 5 Tips to Overcome Portion Distortion

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