Tuesday, August 28, 2007


It's All About the Food
The Truth About Portions and Servings

You've probably heard that "portion control" is one of the keys to weight loss. But what does the term mean? The label on the small bag of chips you're holding says it contains two "servings," but you're about to have the whole thing — isn't that your portion? Are you and your kids overdoing it every time you eat something whose label says it has more than one serving?

First of all, there's a difference between a serving and a portion. A serving is a standard recommended amount of a food, whereas a portion is what we are served or what we choose to eat. Often, our portions are bigger than what is considered a serving. For example, a bag of bread may list a serving as one slice, and the nutrition information on the label is based on just that one slice. But how many people have only one slice of bread for a sandwich? Usually, the portion of bread is two slices, which is double the serving size — and that means you're eating double the calories and twice the nutritional values listed on the label.

For some foods, like fruits, vegetables, and lean meat (such as chicken breast and fish), it's okay to eat a bigger portion (that is, more than one serving) at a meal. However, you should try to limit your portions of grains, fats, and extras like chips, pretzels, and other snacks.

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