Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Calories versus Portion


My mother was always on a diet when I was growing up.  She was always watching her weight even though to quote dad “She is of good German peasant stock” to explain her being bigger boned.  Even as she’s gotten older, she still focuses on her weight.  In fact, everytime I see her, she is always telling me what she weighs and demands to know my weight.  At some point, she found a portion size thing where she had to use a smaller plate with the food on it and she couldn’t have seconds.  

I’ve often wondered which is better, counting calories or going with portion size. Now, I’ve heard several different definitions ranging from a certain number of ounces for a piece of chicken to a portion of protein no bigger than your fist.  My sister read about this idea that you take a plate and divide it into four quadrants.  One half of the plate is for greens and vegetables, one quarter for carbohydrates, and the last quarter is for protein no bigger than the size of your fist.

The thing is that when you count calories, the number of calories is based on a specific serving size such as 3 ounces or ½ cup.  There are people who argue that the information on counting calories is not correct so you need to use a portion size while others argue calories is more important because you are keeping track of what you are eating.

There is the idea of portion size based on your hand so you don’t have to haul a scale around with you when you travel or go out to dinner.  It is suggested for each meal that you eat enough protein that fits into your comfortably cupped palm if you are female and two if you are male. For nonstarchy vegetables such as chard, kale, or beets, you should eat two fist sized portions for males and one for women at each meal.  Then for carbohydrates such as pasta, fruits, or starchy vegetables, it is recommended men eat two cupped handfuls for men and one for women.  Finally, a woman should only have a thumb sized portion of oil or butter while men need two at each meal.

The thing to know is that if you are active, you might want to eat a bit more and if you are not active, you might not eat quite as much.  Overall, if you research the topic, you’ll discover that there is a lot of disagreement on which one is better.  The bottom line for losing weight or maintaining weight is to make sure you burn more calories than you take in.  Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear.  Have a great day.

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