Meal Portion Distortion: Top Reasons Why Size Matters

by | Sep 30, 2023

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to fall into the trap of meal portion distortion, where our perception of what constitutes a reasonable portion size has become skewed. Oversized portions not only contribute to overeating but can also have adverse effects on our health. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the phenomenon of meal portion distortion, its causes, and how to regain control over your plate.

The size of the portions we consume has grown significantly over the past few decades. What used to be a standard serving size has morphed into super-sized meals that often pack excessive calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats. This distortion can lead to overeating, weight gain, and an increased risk of various health issues.

Causes of Meal Portion Distortion

1. Restaurant Portion Sizes: Many restaurants offer portions that are much larger than necessary. This can lead to a skewed perception of what constitutes a reasonable serving, making it difficult to make healthier choices when dining out.

2. Marketing and Advertising: Food advertising often promotes larger portion sizes as a better deal, encouraging consumers to buy more than they actually need.

3. Lack of Awareness: We often eat mindlessly, paying little attention to portion sizes, especially when snacking in front of the TV or while multitasking.

4. Bigger Plates: Research has shown that people tend to eat more when they’re served on larger plates. The empty space on a big plate can make a smaller portion appear insufficient.

The Consequences of Portion Distortion

Overeating due to meal portion distortion can have several adverse effects on your health, including:

1. Weight Gain: Consuming more calories than your body needs can lead to weight gain over time.

2. Digestive Issues: Larger portions can put a strain on your digestive system, leading to discomfort and indigestion.

3. Increased Risk of Chronic Diseases: Overeating is linked to an increased risk of developing conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Regaining Control Over Your Plate

1. Be Mindful: Pay attention to what you eat and how much. Avoid eating in front of the TV or computer, and savor each bite.

2. Use Smaller Plates: Choose smaller dishes to help control portion sizes and avoid overeating.

3. Read Labels: Check nutrition labels for recommended serving sizes and calorie information to make informed choices.

4. Share or Save Half: When dining out, consider sharing an entree or saving half for later to avoid consuming oversized portions.

5. Practice Portion Control: Use measuring cups, food scales, or your hand as a guide to portion sizes. For instance, a serving of protein should be about the size of your palm.

Meal portion distortion is a common problem in today’s food environment, but it’s one that can be overcome with awareness and mindful eating practices. By paying attention to portion sizes, using smaller plates, and making healthier choices, you can regain control over your plate and promote a healthier lifestyle. Remember, when it comes to meal portions, size matters – but it’s all about making the right size choices for your health and well-being. If you want to learn how to eat more mindfully, check out our free Mindful Eating Guide.