Controlling Portion Sizes

Most people consume far more calories than they realize. The culprit? A warped sense of portion size.

Did you know that a portion size is different than a serving size? If not, you are not alone. Since the mid-1980's, portion sizes have grown. This means Americans eat more calories than we need without realizing it. One way to bring yourself back to a healthy weight is to manage your calorie intake. The US Department of Agriculture recommends that you enjoy your food and eat less. By doing so, you will not have to completely eliminate foods you like. You will just have to control portion sizes.

Experts say that understanding the concept of standard serving sizes is essential to good nutrition. Standardized serving sizes help consumers, health professionals, and food manufacturers find a common language for the sake of communication.

Although serving sizes are standardized, individual portion sizes will vary because people have different caloric requirements. Portion size also depends on a person's specific weight management goals and health needs. For example, pregnant and breastfeeding women may require larger portions of food than do women who are not pregnant or nursing.