Have you seen ‘That Sugar Film’? Whilst the focus of this film is ‘hidden’ sugars, for me it brings up the issue of portion and serve sizes.
Many popular diets, such as that explored in this film, suggest completely avoiding certain foods that you may enjoy but don’t require nutritionally. This however is often not sustainable or practical long term.Dietitians Association of Australia. Fad diets [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2015 Mar 2]. ‘Forbidding’ foods may trigger a damaging cycle in which their inevitable consumption causes feelings of guilt, before returning to avoidance, where the cycle begins again.Queensland Health. The dieting cycle [Internet]. 2014 Jun [cited 2015 Mar 2]. This is why we need to understand serve sizes, so we can enjoy food in healthy quantities and look after our health.
What are portion sizes and serve sizes?
Serve size can refer to two very different things. It can be something that the manufacturer of a product decides and lists on packaging, or it can be a suggested serve size for a food as a part of a healthy balanced diet, such as in the Australian Guide to Healthy (AGHE).
On the other hand, a portion size is the amount of food or drink that you actually consume.Eat for Health. What is a serve? [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2015 Mar 2].
Why does this matter?
It seems that portions are getting bigger and bigger and further away from the recommended serving sizes.National Institutes of Health. Larger portion sizes contribute to U.S. obesity problem. [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2015 Mar 2]. The consequences of this are negative for both our waistlines and wallets, resulting in either unbalanced diets and excess energy intakes, or food waste. Both of which have far reaching negative effects, be it in on the achievement and maintenance of a healthy weight, or the financial and environmental impacts of wasted food.
Using an example from the film, Gameau’s first breakfast includes 400ml portion of apple juice, a pretty standard large glass of juice. However, 400ml is over three times more than the AGHE recommendation, whilst juice manufacturers list serve sizes as anything from 200ml to 250ml.
With typical portions sizes, recommended serves and the serve on the packet differing so greatly, it’s no wonder people are confused.
So what is the right amount?
- Consult the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating to learn your serve sizes and ignore those on the packet.
- Use Healthy Weight Week’s simple tip: Try to fill 1/2 your plate with vegetables, 1/4 with good quality carbohydrates and the remaining 1/4 with a protein based food.
- Choose smaller dinnerware. The size of your plate or glass can make a big impact on how big your meal or drink looks.
- Utilise mindful eating by removing distractions and paying attention to your body. By simply listening to hunger cues before eating and satiety cues when you are eating you may find you need less food to feel satisfied.
So, if you like the occasional fruit juice or chocolate, it absolutely can be a part of a balanced, healthy diet. Instead of having 400ml of juice or a whole block of chocolate, try choosing a healthy portion of a food that you really like, and enjoy it. As the saying goes, everything in moderation!
References [ + ]
|1.||⇪||Dietitians Association of Australia. Fad diets [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2015 Mar 2].|
|2.||⇪||Queensland Health. The dieting cycle [Internet]. 2014 Jun [cited 2015 Mar 2].|
|3.||⇪||Eat for Health. What is a serve? [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2015 Mar 2].|
|4.||⇪||National Institutes of Health. Larger portion sizes contribute to U.S. obesity problem. [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2015 Mar 2].|