Eating the right amount of food typically begins with understanding serving sizes. For people who are on traditional diets, portions are defined by calories, fat, sodium, and more. Together the nutrients limit how much food a person can eat. For example, if someone ats twice as much as a serving size they have eaten double the numbers of calories. Portion control is challenging, which is why it’s nice to be on a diet where portion control doesn’t always matter. The keto diet can help with portion control because this high fat, low carb diet suppresses the appetite (more on this below) and offers other weight loss benefits as well. Even if this low carb diet suppresses appetite, it’s still wise to learn about portion control and what a healthy serving of food looks like. Learn more about the keto diet in the Body Reboot and keep reading to find how this excellent diet is helping people make better decisions about food and reach their weight loss goals.
Mindful Keto explains how the keto diet helps curb appetite. Since the keto diet naturally suppresses appetite, it makes it so much easier only to eat what’s on a plate or less depending on how full you feel after!
Just as we’ve been told to avoid fat, we’ve also been told to eat less, control portions, and count calories to lose weight.
But the biggest perk that comes with keto is that it suppresses your appetite naturally.
Take advantage of it:
Eat when you’re hungry.
Eat until you’re full.
Don’t be afraid to overeat because your hunger is already reduced.
If you try to eat less you may end up not eating enough, and then you might be forced to battle with The Snack Attack.
In 2008, The Am J Clin Nutr. did a study on the keto diet and found out that it reduces a person’s appetite and thus makes it easier for them to follow through with their diet.
Altering the macronutrient composition of the diet influences hunger and satiety. Studies have compared high- and low-protein diets, but there are few data on carbohydrate content and ketosis on motivation to eat and ad libitum intake.
We aimed to compare the hunger, appetite, and weight-loss responses to a high-protein, low-carbohydrate [(LC) ketogenic] and those to a high-protein, medium-carbohydrate [(MC) nonketogenic] diet in obese men feeding ad libitum.
Seventeen obese men were studied in a residential trial; food was provided daily. Subjects were offered 2 high-protein (30% of energy) ad libitum diets, each for a 4-wk period-an LC (4% carbohydrate) ketogenic diet and an MC (35% carbohydrate) diet-randomized in a crossover design. Body weight was measured daily, and ketosis was monitored by analysis of plasma and urine samples. Hunger was assessed by using a computerized visual analogue system.
Ad libitum energy intakes were lower with the LC diet than with the MC diet [P=0.02; SE of the difference (SED): 0.27] at 7.25 and 7.95 MJ/d, respectively. Over the 4-wk period, hunger was significantly lower (P=0.014; SED: 1.76) and weight loss was significantly greater (P=0.006; SED: 0.62) with the LC diet (6.34 kg) than with the MC diet (4.35 kg). The LC diet induced ketosis with mean 3-hydroxybutyrate concentrations of 1.52 mmol/L in plasma (P=0.036 from baseline; SED: 0.62) and 2.99 mmol/L in urine (P<0.001 from baseline; SED: 0.36).
In the short term, high-protein, low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets reduce hunger and lower food intake significantly more than do high-protein, medium-carbohydrate nonketogenic diets.
Form a better relationship with food
Portion control is essential if you want a healthier relationship with food. Even if portion control isn’t that big of an issue since you’re on the keto diet, the Huffington Post still recommends forming a healthy relationship with food because ultimately that is what will help you follow through with future health goals.
According to nutritionist and chef Zoe Bingley-Pullin, making portion control a healthy habit means we have a more positive relationship with food.
“Portion control is not just important from a weight loss or management perspective, but also in respect to one's relationship with food,” Bingley-Pullin said.
“If we are unable to stop eating once satisfied, we can be left feeling guilty and uncomfortable. Such guilt and discomfort can make us see food in a negative light and cause us to restrict food. This restriction then creates feelings of deprivation and leads to more overeating, perpetuating a poor relationship with food and feelings of loss of control.”
Put it on a plate
Healthline encourages us to put our food on a plate and eat only that amount of food instead of eating out of a serving dish. It’s hard to say “no” to food that is staring you in the face but if you have a set amount of food to eat on your plate it’ll be easier only to eat what is in front of you.
Another great way to achieve portion control is to put your food on a plate rather than eating out of the container, bag, or serving dish. “For lunch and dinner, fill half of your plate with salad and veggies and then divide the other half between starch and protein,” says Jennifer Nasser, PhD, RD, assistant professor of nutrition at Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions in Philadelphia. You will overeat less often when you have to reach for a second helping.
There are ways to gauge how much a serving is, and Huffington Post explains how to do that below:
To get a feel for how much carbs, protein, fats and veggies to have in a meal, use the plate or palm rule.
“Divide the plate into half a plate of low starch vegetables, a quarter plate of protein, a quarter plate of complex carbs with half a tablespoon of fat,” Bingley-Pullin said.
Alternatively, or to use in conjunction with the plate rule, use your palm to ‘measure' out appropriate portions.
“Remember to keep protein the size of the palm of your hand, the tip of the finger as serve size of butter, a quarter of an avocado per serve and no more than the size of a match box for cheese,” Tuck said.
Don’t nibble on food while cooking
Another way to avoid overeating? Healthline says you shouldn’t nibble on food while you’re cooking because that adds more calories! If you’re eating fat and eating a lot of food doesn’t seem to affect you that’s one thing, but if you’re overeating and not seeing any results, you may need to cut back on your food intake and find healthier, more fulfilling keto snacks.
To eat less, you need to forego the grazing. When you’re cooking, it’s tempting to sample the foods, but it’s better to wait until the meal is served. By the same token, resist eating leftovers off your child’s or spouse’s plate — it’s easy to forget to count calories that weren’t on your own plate. Keeping a food log can open your eyes to the extra calories you eat in a day. Write down every bite you take or beverage you sip for a couple days, and then look at the list. The results might surprise you, and encourage more healthy eating habits.
Drink more water
Water is your BFF! No, literally. Huffington Post reminds us just how important it is to drink more water. It helps flush out the garbage in your system and can help with cravings. When you feel like you’re hungry, it may just be your body nudging you to drink more water! Come on – give it a shot.
Before we even get to portioning our food, remember to drink water before eating.
“One of my favourite tricks it to drink a glass of water about half an hour before your meal, or before anytime that you're eating,” McLeod said.
“This is because when you're dehydrated, you're more likely to eat extra. By having that big glass of water, it means you're getting enough water in, but also you're less likely to have too big a portion size.”
Healthline adds to Huffington Post’s thoughts about water and how it will naturally help you stick to your portions.
Drinking a glass of water up to 30 minutes before a meal will naturally aid portion control.
Filling up on water will make you feel less hungry. Being well hydrated also helps you distinguish between hunger and thirst.
One study in middle-aged and older adults observed that drinking 17 ounces (500 ml) of water before each meal resulted in a 44% greater decline in weight over 12 weeks, most likely due to reduced food intake.
Similarly, when overweight and obese older adults drank 17 ounces (500 ml) of water 30 minutes before a meal, they consumed 13% fewer calories without trying to make any changes.
In another study in young normal-weight men, drinking a similar amount of water immediately before a meal resulted in greater feelings of fullness and reduced food intake.
Therefore, having a glass of water before each meal can help prevent overeating and aid portion control.
Anxious to learn more about the ketogenic diet? We outline what the keto diet is all about and what you can eat in the Body Reboot book. Get your free book by helping us cover the cost of shipping. Visit this page to get a free copy of the book before it sells out!
Sources: Everyday Health, NCBI: Am J Clin Nutr. 2008, Huffington Post, Healthline
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