Eating more than your body desires isn’t a good thing whether you’re suffering from diabetes or not. It’s all about maintaining a healthy diet while preventing yourself from various lingering diseases such as diabetes.
This is why one should know how to control portions by choosing a specific amount of certain foods. Through portion control, you can get the absolute benefits of the vitamins and nutrients in the food you consume. It is helpful because it helps in digesting food easily, keeps you energized throughout the day and most of all control your blood sugar.
Here’s how portion size will affect your bodily conditions and how you can control it.
When you have diabetes, your portion size plays a vital role in maintaining your blood sugar levels and vice versa. This is because your body becomes prone to certain foods and reacts differently.
People with or without any abnormal body condition don’t actually know how to measure portion sizes and this is where it gets difficult to maintain a healthy diet.
A Health and Wellness coach in Newport News, Virginia, Jill Wiesenberger says:
“We can’t be healthy if we eat everything put in front of us, and weighing and measuring teach us appropriate portion sizes. “If you don’t eat the proper amount of carbohydrates at your meal, expect your blood glucose to shoot too high or, if you’re on certain medications, to drop dangerously low.”
For people with any type of diabetes, a rough amount of carbs that they need to have in a day are 35-40g (for women) and 45-60g(for men). To know if you are taking the right portion of carbs in your meal, try consulting a dietitian.
If not, then adhering to these tips will help you measure, identify, and control portion sizes in both home and office settings.
1. Smaller Dinnerware
Studies have shown that the size of spoons, plates, and other cutleries used on the dining table unconsciously influence the amount of food one eats.
For instance, large plates would make the right portion look smaller, ultimately leading to overeating.
Another study shows that 77% of people consume more pasta with large bowls contrasting to those with medium-sized bowls. The most interesting part of the study is that people aren’t aware of how their portion size is increasing just because of the large-sized dishes.
Therefore, swapping your dishes to medium-sized or smaller ones will help you measure your portion.
2. Use regular plates as a portion guide
If measuring food or weighing grams per meal isn’t your thing, then use your plate as a guide. This will help you up to some extent to find out the optimally balanced meal portion.
Here’s a rough estimation for this suggestion:
- For salad or vegetable – Half plate
- Protein – Quarter plate (which includes meat, fish, dairy, eggs, pulses, and beans).
- High-fat foods: Half a tablespoon of oil/Cheese/butter (7 grams)
- Complex carbs: Quarter plate (for starchy vegetables and whole grains)
This is an optimal portion size for those with less amount of physical activity involved throughout the day. If your daily activities demand more energy, you can increase the size of salads and the vegetable portion which adds up energy as they are less calorie-dense foods.
3. Start your meal with a glass of water
Having a glass of water for 30 minutes before starting your meal can actually aid in portion control naturally. Drinking water before meals will keep you hydrated and will also help in identifying thirst and hunger.
A study resulted in a 44% decline in weight when middle-aged adults were observed drinking 500 ml water before every meal. Most probably due to the reduced intake.
4. Eat slowly
Gulping out food quickly without chewing properly makes you unaware of getting full. As a result, you always end up overeating.
Do you know that your brain takes 20 minutes to tell you that you are full?
Slowing down your eating habits will make a huge difference and can reduce food intake.
5. Be aware of the serving size
Experts say that we cannot and should not always rely on our judgments of measuring portion sizes. And that’s where portion control needs to be addressed.
Investing in a measuring scale or cup with a small food weighing calculator can help you assess your portion intake appropriately.
Plus, reading labels on food packets beforehand can be a great help as well during measuring portion sizes. For instance:
Cooked Rice or Pasta – ½ cup = 75-100 grams
Salad and Vegetables – 1-2 cups = 150-300 grams
Cooked Beans – 1 cup = 90 grams
Breakfast cereal – 1 cup = 40 grams
Cooked Meats – 3 ounces = 85 grams
Nut Butter – 2 tablespoons= 16 grams
Proper portion and nutrition control can play an essential part in controlling diabetes. You may ask your doctor or dietitian to guide you about the food that you can eat and should avoid. Adhering to serving or portion size will help you stick to these guidelines.
A nutritious intake, proper portion size, and a regular physical activity can definitely help in maintaining your blood sugar levels. Not only this, but it will be much easier to lose and manage weight issues.
It all starts and ends with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Portion control and a nutritious diet can help you manage diabetes of any type. Sticking to the strategies mentioned above like calorie counts, plate method, measuring portions will prevent you from overeating which normally causes high blood sugar levels and excess weight gain.
In the end, it is always suggested to talk to your doctor before you opt to experiment with anything yourself. Ask what and how much you should eat certain foods.
Possibly you have to take medicines to control your blood sugar levels along with portion control instructions. Consult your doctor as improving the quality of your life and controlling the uncontrolled conditions should be your priority.