We get it, controlling one’s portions gets tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Whereas the standard American diet encourages eating lots of carbs (many of them unhealthy), we’re here to let everyone know that there’s another way. Not only does it make sense to figuring out the best way to implement portion control, but we’ll also let you in on a secret: The keto diet makes controlling portions a cinch! Why is that? Well, according to the Body Reboot book, a high fat, low carb diet decreases an appetite, making it more feasible to control portions. Don’t believe us? Keep reading and soak up knowledge on how to manage food portions and not the other way around!
1. Understand portions and servings
One of the easiest ways to control your eating portions is to understand serving sizes. Medicareful Living explains this more in-depth below. Remember, if you go on the keto diet, it’s all about eating until you’re full. However, controlling your portions is never a bad thing, unless you aren’t eating enough!
When you’re making your dinner plate or cooking, you’re often able to pick the portion size and make it healthier. This can be very difficult to do if you’re unsure of the ideal portion size. Soups and vegetables can be incredibly tough to gauge, though even single items like a piece of steak or fish can be difficult. This is where a suggested serving size comes in handy.
Though often used synonymously, serving size and portion size are not the same. Portion size is how much food you take or eat. A serving size is the suggested amount that is healthy to eat at once. The portion size can be more or less than the serving size, but the goal is usually to have them be roughly the same. Suggested daily serving sizes for the various food groups are:
Vegetables — 2 to 3 cups
Fruits — 1½ to 2 cups
Grains — 5 to 8 oz
Dairy — 3 cups (low-fat or fat-free)
Proteins — 5 to 6½ oz
Oils — 5 to 7 tsp
Now, these are just general suggestions, and you can go over or under from time to time and still be healthy. The best suggestion is to talk to your doctor or a dietician, if you want to find suggested serving sizes for your own needs.
2. Go on keto
As we’ve been hinting at throughout this article, Bulletproof suggests going on the keto diet, and we agree! Keto has many benefits, from losing to weight to — you guessed it — controlling your portions! Check out how the ketogenic diet controls hunger by identifying with the ketones impact cholecystokinin (CKK), a hormone that controls how full you are.
Ketosis suppresses appetite in more than one way.
When you start eating more fat and cut out all those senseless carbs (sugar, bread, and the like), you tend to stop experiencing the blood sugar swings that plague most people on the Standard American Diet. These fluctuations cause intense hunger that keeps you lurching from one carb-heavy meal to the next, never feeling satisfied—and never reaching the deep fat-burning state of ketosis. But that’s not big news to most of us.
What’s exciting is that ketones suppress appetite in a variety of more subtle and significant ways because ketones can control hunger and satiety hormones. Scientists have identified that ketones impact cholecystokinin (CCK), a hormone which makes you feel full, and ghrelin, the “hunger hormone.”
KETOSIS AND GHRELIN
Ghrelin is called “the hunger hormone” because it increases appetite. It’s released from your stomach and intestines, with blood levels reaching their highest point during normal fasting. When you eat a meal, ghrelin drops in response to nutrients circulating in your blood.
When scientists give ghrelin to rats, they eat more, gain weight, and use less fat for energy. When us humans get ghrelin injections, it causes a 28% increase in food intake. When you lose weight you can bet your ghrelin levels go up – but not if you’re also in ketosis.
Ketosis completely suppresses the increase in ghrelin levels that occurs with weight loss. In fact, if study subjects had ketone levels higher than 0.3 mM during dieting, their ghrelin levels actually went down compared to baseline (pre-weight loss) levels. That means they wanted to eat less after they stopped dieting, instead of more!
A study by Obes Rev. in 2015 found that ketogenic low-carb diets can help suppress appetite. That’s good news for you because if you’re trying to control your portions, here is a natural and easy way to do it!
Very-low-energy diets (VLEDs) and ketogenic low-carbohydrate diets (KLCDs) are two dietary strategies that have been associated with a suppression of appetite. However, the results of clinical trials investigating the effect of ketogenic diets on appetite are inconsistent. To evaluate quantitatively the effect of ketogenic diets on subjective appetite ratings, we conducted a systematic literature search and meta-analysis of studies that assessed appetite with visual analogue scales before (in energy balance) and during (while in ketosis) adherence to VLED or KLCD. Individuals were less hungry and exhibited greater fullness/satiety while adhering to VLED, and individuals adhering to KLCD were less hungry and had a reduced desire to eat. Although these absolute changes in appetite were small, they occurred within the context of energy restriction, which is known to increase appetite in obese people. Thus, the clinical benefit of a ketogenic diet is in preventing an increase in appetite, despite weight loss, although individuals may indeed feel slightly less hungry (or more full or satisfied). Ketosis appears to provide a plausible explanation for this suppression of appetite. Future studies should investigate the minimum level of ketosis required to achieve appetite suppression during ketogenic weight loss diets, as this could enable inclusion of a greater variety of healthy carbohydrate-containing foods into the diet.
3. Cook at home but limit grazing
Cooking at home is a lot better than going out because as Medicareful Living says, it helps you control the ingredients. So, if you’re lowing your carb intake, you decide what ingredients you want in your food.
Now that you know how to gauge portion size, there are a few ways to help yourself keep the portion size down without still feeling hungry. The first of these is cooking for yourself. When you cook at home instead of going out for dinner, you not only have more control over the ingredients in your food, but also the planned portion size for each dish. Whereas a steakhouse may aim to give its costumers steaks the size of footballs, at home, you can cook yourself the recommended three to four ounces and make each ounce count. You can also replace some less-than-healthy ingredients with healthier alternatives, which would allow you to have a larger portion size.
Even though it’s nice to eat at home, Everday Health does warn you of not eating everything as you cook. If the food looks delicious, that’s great, but don’t eat everything in front of you!
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.
4. Measure portions
If you find you still get hungry on the keto diet, Everyday Health recommends measuring your portions. You shouldn’t have to do this while on a high fat, low carb diet, but if you’re curious or would like to learn more about portions, consider measuring them.
Portion control — eating just the right amount of each food — starts with an understanding of serving sizes. Use the “Nutrition Facts” chart found on all pre-packaged foods as a guide. The first entry is serving size, followed by the number of servings found in the container. All the information below that, including calories, fat, and sodium, are dependent on eating the amount of food in the serving size. If you eat twice as much as a serving size, you have taken in double the number of calories, carbs, and fats listed. When possible, weigh the food or count the number of chips, for example, to make sure you’re not eating more than you intended.
5. Turn off the TV and set some rules
Watching television while eating = bad habits, plain and simple. That’s why Cooking Light says you shouldn’t eat while watching TV. Otherwise, that healthy keto won’t be so healthy if you devour it all! If you feel like eating a lot, concentrate on eating keto-friendly foods, such as salad, cheese, or fatty meats that’ll hit the spot.
The Vast Wasteland leads to vast waists. It’s not just the couch-sitting. TV distracts you from how much you’re eating, and the more you watch, the more you’re likely to eat. In a study comparing how much popcorn viewers ate during either a half-hour show or an hour-long show, those who watched more television ate 28 percent more popcorn.
Not all portion-control strategies are about eating less. You can have as much as you want of some foods. Place the foods you want your family to eat more of―salads and vegetable sides―within easy reach on the dining table. In a soon-to-be-published study, Wansink found people who kept baby carrots in plain sight ate 25 percent more during a day.
There you have it — you now know 5 secrets to portion control! To feel less hungry and gain several health benefits by going on the keto diet, check out the Body Reboot book. Help us cover shipping and visit this page to snag a free copy today!
Sources: Everyday Health, Medicareful Living, Cooking Light, Bulletproof, NCBI: Obes Rev. 2015
Hit Your Fat Burning Reboot Switch
Discover how to activate your body's “Reboot Switch” that flips on a fat burning inferno so you can finally achieve your weight loss goals!
Tired, Sleep Problems & Excess Fat?
There are 4 secrets being kept from you about why a modern diet is making us fatter, more tired & sick.
Discover how to activate your body's “Reboot Switch” that flips on a fat burning inferno so you can finally get healthy and achieve your weight loss goals!