One term that you may have heard along the way in your fitness journey is portion distortion, but what does that mean, and why is it such a problem? Below, you will find answers to both those questions along with some helpful tips to help you combat this problem, along with portion distortion examples.
What is Portion Size?
Before you can understand what portion distortion is, you need a good understanding of what portioning means. Portion size is the amount of food that you choose to eat in one sitting. For example, if you are eating dinner and you eat half a cup of pasta, your portion was half a cup. On the other hand, if you eat three cups of pasta, your portion was three cups.
The important thing to remember about portion size is that it is entirely in your control. It is up to you to decide how big or small your portions are going to be.
What is Portion Distortion?
Portion distortion is a relatively new health and dietary term. The term was originally coined to describe a global trend in regards to portion size. Over the past 20 years, the average portion size that people eat in one sitting, and therefore the amount of calories people are consuming in a day, has increased dramatically. Unfortunately, most of the time, the supersized portions are supersized junk foods.
Common Portion Distortion Examples
Portion Distorted Packaging
The first example of portion distortion is food packaging. For instance, when most people think about buying a 20-ounce bottle of soda at the store, they consider that purchase to be for a one-person drink. However, the reality is that a 'healthy' portion would only be about a third of that bottle.
A good example of portion distorted packaging is chip bags. Often, chips come in a three-ounce bag that most people consider being for one person. However, once again, if you were eating 'healthy' portions, you would be eating about a third of that.
This kind of portion distortion in packaging can be even more confusing because of misleading nutrition labels that can be hard to understand. If you do not pay attention to serving sizes and make the proper calculations, you may end up eating way more than you think that you are.
Portion Distortion at Home
Another portion distortion example is taking place within almost every home. First, foods that we eat at home are actually bigger than they ever have been in the past. For instance, twenty years ago, most bagels were only three inches in diameter, but today they are closer to 6 inches and have more than double the calories.
A common way that portion distortion happens at home is actually due to the size of our plates, bowls, and silverware. Today, the average plate is significantly larger than the healthy portion size is. Studies have shown that people are much more likely to overeat and take bigger portions when what they are eating off of is bigger.
Portion Distortion at Restaurants
Portion sizes have also been distorted at restaurants as they have supersized their foods and meals. Even if restaurants offer a smaller size, they make the price difference small enough that it appears like the better deal is always to upgrade. On the other hand, some restaurants have simply raised the price and portion without giving you any other option.
Why Is Portion Distortion Such A Problem?
You may be wondering what the problem is with portion distortion. As portion sizes get bigger, more and more adults are experiencing various health problems related to obesity, such as diabetes, cancer, strokes, and heart attacks. If portion distortion continues to be a growing problem, it could turn into a major health crisis.
Furthermore, if you are trying to lose weight, you will find it to be extremely challenging if you do not learn how to control your portion sizes.
How to Combat Portion Distortion
Sometimes it may feel like portion distortion is a losing battle. What can you do if food servings are bigger and packages contain more than ever before?
The good news is, as mentioned previously, you have complete control of your portion size. You may be given more food, but you can still eat less. However, knowing when to stop and actually stopping can be difficult, so here are some tips and tricks to help you combat portion distortion.
Using the Adjustable Portion Control Plate is the most effective way to ensure you eat the correct portion size.
Helpful Portion Control Tips
Fill the Plate with Veggies
A healthy portion size of vegetables can be significantly large than a healthy portion size of meat, carbs, or fat. If you are controlling what goes on the plate, fill up the plate, at least half of it, with vegetables first. On the other hand, if you cannot control what goes on the plate, start by eating the vegetables so that you are fuller before you start eating the other items.
Drink a Glass of Water First
Whether you are out and about or at home, drinking a glass of water before you start eating will help you not overeat. This tip is especially helpful if you are trying to lose weight. By drinking water first, you will feel full faster so that you end up eating a smaller portion.
Downsize Your Flatware and Silverware
One way to combat portion distortion at home is to use smaller plates, bowls, and silverware. Downsizing these things will help trick your brain to think that you are eating bigger portions and therefore will feel full faster.
Put Away Leftovers
When you are done cooking, set aside the amount that you want to eat and put the rest of the food away. This way, in order to go back and get more, you would have to take it out, reheat it, etc. Creating more steps to get seconds means you will be less likely to want them at all.
Consider How Hungry You Really Are
When we multitask while we are eating by working or watching tv, we are more likely to absentmindedly keep eating and not notice that we are full. Focus on what you are eating to better know when you are hungry and when you are full.
Use The Portion Control Plate
Using the Adjustable Portion Control Plate is the easiest way to control your portion sizes at home without having to do any extra measurements or calculations. With this plate, you can adjust the open spaces to fit the healthy portion size for you and your goals.
When it is time to eat, all you have to do is fill the sections with vegetables, carbs, and protein respectively, and enjoy your meal knowing you are eating the right amount without having to waste too much time or thought.
If you are eating out with a friend or family member, a great way to control your portions is by splitting an entree. While most restaurants market their entrees for one person, they often contain enough food for two or even three people. Plus, when you split the entree, you can split the cost and save money.
Ask for a Box at the Start
Often people get a to-go box at the end of the meal if they have leftovers. Try asking for the box at the beginning of the meal and putting some of your meal in the box to take home. This way, you get multiple meals, and you do not eat too much.
Ask for a Second Plate
If you are not sure how much you will want to eat, consider asking for a second plate. When you get the second plate, put half of your meal on it. When you are done with the first plate, you can re-evaluate if you are still hungry before adding more to your plate. If you do eat more, start by cutting the second portion in half or even in fourths.
Be Mindful of Your Food
Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in conversation while eating, and not even notice when how much we're eating. While eating, try setting your fork down between bites and chewing your food slower. These methods will help you enjoy eating more while also helping you notice when you are full.
Portion Distortion Conclusion
Portion distortion is a problem that people are dealing with around the globe. As portion sizes continue to grow, it can seemingly be difficult to eat a healthy amount of food. The good news is there are so many great ways to combat that problem.
We recommend the Adjustable Portion Control Plate because it simplifies meal planning and eliminates the guesswork. The easier it is to manage portion size, the more success you will have in reaching your weight goals.