How do large food portions affect weight?

Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics
When you eat large portions you are more likely to store the extra calories as fat. Your body can only handle a certain amount of food at one time. Smaller more frequent meals and snacks help the body to metabolize food more efficiently. Smaller meals may also increase metabolism where huge portions may slow it down.
Jim White
Nutrition & Dietetics
Large portions of food affect your weight because they raise your blood sugar levels, which are an important factor in weight management. Large portions cause fluctuations in insulin production resulting in spikes in blood sugar levels thus disturbing hormonal balances. Weight gain is dependent on several factors but consuming large portions ignores the body's signal to stop eating and contributes to weight gain.
Jessica Crandall
Nutrition & Dietetics

Large food portions can affect weight negatively by providing an excess of calories for the body at one time. Large food portions can also result in over-eating and a higher daily caloric intake than is necessary. Continued consumption of large food portions can eventually lead to adverse results, such as weight gain. 

Deborah Beauvais
Nutrition & Dietetics

Gaining, losing and maintaining weight depends on the equilibrium of calories in vs. calories out. Calories in would be the food and beverages that you eat. Calories out would be the energy you expend in your daily routine along with the physical activities you participate in daily.

If your calories in are equal to your calories out weight should stay stable. But when the equation is changed and calories are higher than energy expenditures then weight will be gained. So eating larger portions than you need to equal out the calories you expend will result in weight gain. The reverse can also be true. Expending more energy than the calories you are eating will cause you to lose some weight.

Remember that various medications, age, and state of health also have an impact on this equation too. For further information it is best to consult with a Registered Dietitian to get the best weight maintenance scenario for your specific needs. can link you to a Registered Dietitian in your area.

Ruth Frechman
Nutrition & Dietetics

The saying, "Our eyes are bigger than our stomachs", is true for some people, especially if it's our favorite food. There is a tendency for many people to eat whatever is in front of them. This could be detrimental for losing weight. Some restaurants have plates big enough to feed two people. If you are trying to lose weight, eat on a salad plate. When you are done, you are done. You will probably eat enough calories to feel satisfied, not stuffed.

Marisa Moore
Nutrition & Dietetics

When it comes down to it, weight management is all about calories in versus calories out. Large food portions can be a major diet derailer. Here's why...

  • Research shows that the more food we have in front of us - on a plate, at a buffet, in a cup or bowl - the more we tend to eat. So, start small. Use small plates, glasses and bowls to eat instead of larger vessels or even worse the entire bag of snacks.
  • Most people (even dietitians!) underestimate the number of calories in a plate of food. This portion distortion can lead to excess calorie intake.
  • Large portions of calorie laden drinks like juice, sweetened teas and coffee, smoothies and milkshakes can also lead to weight gain. Unlike solid foods, beverages don't tend to keep you feeling full very long. So rethink your drink. Limit caloric beverages to small portions and make the majority of your beverages calorie-free.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.