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Food & diet

Does having an eye for portions help you lose weight?

September 19, 2018

Portion sizes matter. Research has shown that people eat more and more when they have a larger plate in front of them. Controlling portions is therefore important, especially when our goal is to lose weight. Let’s see what Professor Daniela Lucini, Head of Medicine at Humanitas, thinks about this topic.


Use objects as references

There is no need to store a list of foods or carry scoops around for better portion management. According to new trends it is instead more useful to use common visual signs to remind you of the appropriate portion sizes. How? Many foods have the size of some everyday items. An average pepper, for example, is the size of a portion of vegetables. Although not all foods correspond perfectly to something visually recognizable, visual identification of quantities according to some nutritionists can help you better judge portions and practice portion control, which is essential when you want to lose weight.


One serving of fruit is worth 60 calories

A small apple is about the same size as a tennis ball and is equal to a portion of fruit: about 60 calories. The same applies to an average orange, one the size of a tennis ball, is also about 60 calories.


One serving of vegetables is worth 25 calories

A half cup of cooked carrots is equivalent to a portion of vegetables or about 25 calories. Two cups of spinach, on the other hand, are worth about 25 calories: just like a portion of vegetables.


One serving of carbohydrates is worth 70 calories

One serving of carbohydrates is worth about 70 calories. The same applies to whole meal rice, an excellent variant of pasta: 1/3 of a cup of cooked whole meal rice is equivalent to a portion of carbohydrates, 70 calories. A small whole meal sandwich, 3/4 cup of cereal, 8 whole meal wheat crackers are also worth 70 calories.

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One serving of protein is worth 110 calories

A portion of protein derived from dairy products or meat is worth about 110 calories. To get to this amount we can choose to eat a single portion of ricotta as large as 1/3 cup, 25 grams of spreadable cheese, 2/3 cup of low-fat ricotta, 1 cup of semi-skimmed milk or low-fat soybeans, 2/3 cup of unsweetened low-fat yogurt. You can consume the same amount of calories by eating 1/2 cup of baked beans, 1 whole egg, a slice of grilled fish or 2 slices of tofu.


One serving of fat is worth 45 calories

Two teaspoons of mayonnaise correspond to a portion of fat equal to about 45 calories. The same nutritional power is found in a quantity of 7 almonds, ⅙ of a whole avocado, 1 teaspoon of butter or vegetable oil.


What are the right portions? Training issue

It may take some practice to better judge the portions, especially if you have to do it within an entire meal. But the more you practice visualizing calories, the more you’ll have control over the right portion sizes and therefore the possibility of losing weight with ease.


“The best strategy, however,” warns Professor Lucini, “is not just to pay attention to quantity. It is true that in most cases to lose weight you have to start eating less. On the other hand, it is absolutely necessary to re-educate oneself completely, being careful what one eats. That’s why you need to rely on a specialist in nutrition.

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