Power of portion control

G Sushma, Clinical Dietician, Care Hospitals Banjara Hills, emphasises the importance of portion control and its integration into diets.
Image used for representational purposes.
Image used for representational purposes.

HYDERABAD:  Engaging in regular meals and adhering to a balanced diet has become a daily norm. However, the current trend is to randomly adopt diets showcased in online videos in pursuit of health and fitness. Do these routines truly benefit us? The key lies in often overlooked portion control, sometimes following unsuitable dietary patterns. To dispel this confusion, we sought insights from experts shedding light on the significance of portion control.

G Sushma, Clinical Dietician, Care Hospitals Banjara Hills, emphasises the importance of portion control and its integration into diets.

“Initially, portion control was discussed primarily for diabetic individuals, focusing on regulating carb intake — replacing simple carbs with complex ones and specifying appropriate quantities within a 1,500-calorie daily limit. Each meal was structured, emphasising portion control: for instance, two phulkas with vegetable salad, a bowl of protein like lentils, vegetable curry, or non-vegetarian items. Gradually, portion control extended beyond diabetic care to weight management. It revolves around selecting healthy quantities of various foods. For instance, recommending fruits comes with a caveat of portion sizes — typically 50 to 100 gms per day for diabetics. Vegetables, however, have no such restrictions, encouraging 5 to 6 servings. This approach ensures optimal nutrient intake, preventing overconsumption, and proving immensely beneficial,” informs G Sushma.

“Initially intended for diabetics, as the city grapples with weight management, the significance of portion control amplifies. Whether it’s weight gain or reduction, we tailor advice accordingly. For weight gain, a protein-rich diet with balanced carbs is recommended, incorporating 50 to 100 gms of chicken or paneer, accompanied by ample vegetables and one or two phulkas. Conversely, for weight loss, the emphasis shifts to vegetables, salads, and proteins, with carbs consumed last. We meticulously divide food groups based on their portion sizes, aligning with goals like weight regulation or cholesterol control, effectively catering to individual needs,” she further adds.

Regarding the meals to take for a person on diet, she says, “Instructing individuals on portion control involves advocating smaller plates to reduce calorie intake. This psychological trick makes it appear like a substantial meal, satiating the mind subconsciously. We steer away from simple carbs like refined flour, rice, and sugar, favouring complex carbohydrates such as ragi, oats, wheat, and barley.

As for dietary guidelines, especially for diabetic individuals, we recommend small, frequent meals, discouraging overeating and prolonged gaps between meals. The meal plan typically includes breakfast, a moderate lunch and dinner. Additionally, we suggest intermittent snacks like soup, healthy biscuits, porridge, and green tea. Employing measuring tips — using hand sizes as serving guides, considering palm and fist sizes — helps individuals grasp portion control effectively. The rule of thumb is to allocate half the plate to vegetables (salads, curries, boiled veggies), a quarter for carbs, and the remaining quarter for protein. By employing plate and palm sizes as visual aids, we facilitate a comprehensive understanding of portion control.”

K Sowmya, Senior Dietician, Apollo Hospitals, Secunderabad, elucidates the essence of portion control. “It involves consuming the right foods in appropriate quantities from each food group, ensuring a safe intake of nutrients while maintaining a balanced calorie count. Prescribing measures based on calorie intake allows for a harmonious blend of essential nutrients.”

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