“No to crash diet! No to starvation!” If you’ve said these fighting words before, then you probably resist the very idea of portion control.
Portion control, or the act of limiting the food you consume per day, usually in calorie limits, might seem masochistic in a world where you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want.
But nutritionists think you’re better off trading this small freedom for better health. They point to research that suggests lack of portion control is hurting overall nutrition in America.
The Dangers of Large Portions
- An American Journal of Clinical Nutrition article concluded that large food portions served in restaurants or family encourage overeating and increase the risk of obesity.
- The International Journal of Obesity found large portion sizes served in fast food stores bring high amounts of cholesterol, saturated and trans fats to your body, increasing your risk of coronary heart disease.
Logic goes that we are being conditioned to eat more food than what our body actually needs, and this leads to widening waist lines and a build-up of harmful substances.
It’s no wonder then that among dieters, Weight Watchers and other weight loss diets based on portion control rank among the most effective and life-changing. They say practicing portion control opened their eyes to common marketing traps for “good value” meals.
Good Value or Not?
Let me do a quick test: Do you think these offers give you a good value?
- Fast food combos
- Upsize soft drinks
- All-you-can-eat buffets
- Buy-1-take-2 chip bags
If you said yes, then you could use a little lesson on portion control. None of these are truly worth it because most of the bonus food is either unhealthy or unnecessary. They just fill you up with sugar, salt, fat and empty calories. And the worst thing is, they’re made to taste so good to keep you wanting more of the same, bad stuff.
Here is where portion control can step in and curb your runaway cravings. By setting either calorie limits or food type limits per meal, you can craft a diet that meets your daily energy needs but without the excess that gets stored as fat.
Practicing Portion Control
There is no exact formula to arrive at a calorie number or meal plan, but there are two ways you can go about it. First and most ideal is to consult with a nutritionist who will create your portion control plan based primarily on your weight, height, lifestyle and food preferences.
Try to stay away from online calorie counters because many of them have flawed formulas, but if that’s all you have access to, then be sure to get a second or even third opinion. Then
The second is to rely on guidelines set by the government. The US Food and Nutrition Service has an informative website that can get you started on the right kinds of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy for your smaller-size diet.
Once you’ve set a plan, then stick to it for the best weight loss results.
Research published by Obesity Research journal showed the portion control induced the greatest weight loss, ahead of other positive weight loss behaviors like increased physical activity and increased fruit and vegetable consumption.
How’s that for encouragement!
Health and Love,