By Stefan Ianev

5 Tips for portion control


Talking about portion control might not be as sexy as talking about all the other diet fads like diet breaks, re-feeds, and mini-cuts, but usually it’s the boring basics that everyone just skims over which make the greatest difference.

It doesn’t’ matter how many calories your meal plan tells you to have, if you can’t control your portion sizes, all else fails.

That is why we want to take the time to talk about some simple tips you can implement right away to help you control your portion sizes.


1. Eat your protein first

It is well established that protein is the most satiating macronutrient [1]. This is likely related to the greater energy required to digest protein. As a result, having some protein with each meal can help you feel fuller for longer.
However, you can take it a step further than that. If you consume all your protein first, before consuming the rest of your meal, it will fill you up quicker, so you are less likely to overeat on the other macronutrients.  


2. Have Some fiber with each meal

Like protein, some fibers have also been shown to improve satiety [2]. Fiber is the undigestible part of carbohydrates.  Fiber is high volume and low density, which fills up your stomach and slows down digestion, helping keep you fuller for longer.
In addition, fiber contains only about 2 calories per gram, which is about half that of starchy carbohydrates and protein, and about a quarter of dietary fats. That means you can eat a greater volume of fiber and still attain the same of fewer calories.


3. Drink a glass of water before each meal

Studies have shown that when you consume a glass of water before meals it leads to a reduced energy intake [3]. The mechanism responsible for the observed effects are unclear, but one potential explanation is that consuming water before a meal reduces the energy density of stomach contents [3].
However, drinking water can also decrease stomach acidity which can potentially interfere with digestion, if you consume food too soon afterwards [4]. Therefore, we recommend leaving about 10-15 minutes after drinking a glass of water before eating.    


4. Do not eat in front of the television

Some studies have shown that eating while watching TV increases food intake while others have not [5]. It appears that this may be related to the engagement of the content being watched.
Particularly, it appears that watching more novel and engaging content may reduce food intake due to distraction, whereas watching familiar content may increase food intake due to boredom. 
Therefore, it might be best to just avoid eating in front of the TV altogether as you are putting yourself at risk of overeating.


5. Eat slowly

You probably don’t need us or a study to tell you what you grandmother already told you, but it turns out she was right. Slowing down your eating rate appears to be an effective strategy for reducing food intake [6].
However, what your grandmother likely didn’t tell you is why. It turns out that eating slowly supresses ghrelin levels to a greater degree, which is an acute hunger hormone [6].


And there you have it! 5 super basic and effective tips to help you control your portion size which you can start implementing right away.