How does portion control help with weight loss?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
You don't need to weigh and measure everything if you're on a diet. Your goal should be to understand and control portion sizes, especially of food that's high in calories. An inexpensive food scale can help you do that. You can also learn appropriate portion sizes by reading labels, and by following rules of thumb, such as using a deck of cards as a measure of a serving of meat, fish or chicken. The more whole fruits and vegetables you eat, which tend to fill you up with fewer calories, the less you need to worry about measuring other foods.
It's easy to underestimate how much you're eating. Portion control works by specifying the amount, or portion size, of foods eaten in a day with the goal of taking in a balance of nutrients and energy.

Many weight-loss plans emphasize portion control. They  teach you to count or track your foods eaten by serving or, in some cases, by following a very specific meal plan.

Weight Watchers provides lots of great trips and strategies around portion control. Weight Watchers allows any food in moderation, while teaching you which foods give you the best bang for your buck in terms of health and satiety.

Weight Watchers offers a comprehensive approach to weight loss that can help you reach your goals.
Too much of a good thing is still too much - especially when it comes to food.  Life is about calories in and calories out. Maintaining proper portions keeps the calorie balance in check.   
Robert S. Kaufmann, MD
Internal Medicine
Portion control is the only way to lose weight.  The best example is a steak restaurant and they give you a twelve ounce steak.  You should only have 3-4 ounces of meat.  Another example is with your starches.  A cup of rice should mean a SMALL cup.  You have to always remember you have to burn more calories than you take in to lose weight.

Portion distortion is one of the biggest barriers to losing weight.  People seem to have no idea how much they over eat.  A typical serving is basically a handful of food – a far cry from that plateful of pasta you just threw down your throat!  People are also surprised to find out how small the portion size is for many foods that are seemingly healthy for them.  For instance, it’s easy to throw down a handful of almonds, right?  A portion size called out on the label is 4 - 6 almonds!  To boost your portion IQ start looking at the labels of all the food you eat.  You will be amazed at how much smaller a portion size really is.  Here are some 5 tips to help you control your portion sizes:

- Eat half of what you would normally eat – share the other half or save it for another meal
- Don’t have tempting food sitting around the house Learn to eyeball portion size.  If it fits into the palm of your hand you should be pretty close to the correct serving size
- Drink an 16oz glass of water BEFORE you eat – this simply makes your stomach feel fuller from the start
- Use a smaller plate.  If there is no room for larger portions you will naturally eat less

Getting a grip on your portion distortion is a great start to getting control of your weight.

Wendy Batts
To lose weight we need to eat fewer calories and incorporate a sensible low calorie nutrition plan. Portion control is vital to calorie control, and therefore weight loss. One may even argue that before you make any drastic changes to the content of your diet, begin with small changes to the quantities in your diet. This will help you begin to eat fewer calories and kick-start a weight loss goal.

For example going from a large to a medium blended coffee drink can shave 90 calories off your day just like that.
Finding the balance that is right for you of eating healthy daily meals that allows your body to function efficiently with the minimum amount of food to maximize your mental and physical energy throughout the day and sleep 7-8 hours like a baby. I personally eat about 6-8 very small meals everyday. Try not to eat anything 3 hours before you go to bed and always have healthy snacks on hand, so that you never get starving. 

It all comes to balancing "calories in" with "calories out". If you consume mindless amount of food in a day you have no control on the total calories you consume.

In the other hand if you start measuring your food and educate yourself about the serving size of your favorite foods, You are in control of your caloric intake. You can even start planning your daily menu and stay in your caloric requirement range.

We are lucky to live in the information age. All measuring and calorie counting can be easily available with using a user friendly food logging program such as DotFit.

You will be responsible to honestly input the exact amount of food you consume throughout the day. And at the end of the day DotFit provides you with the total calories you have taken, along with the details about each single food type( protein, sugar, fiber,....).


Kat Barefield, MS, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Portion control, which is limiting the quantity of food you’re going to eat, helps prevent over-eating. In doing so, you take in fewer calories. When you eat fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight.
Portion control is especially important in today’s society where standard portions provide significantly more calories than the average person needs at one meal. Consider the fact that a sedentary woman needs approximately 1,800 calories to maintain her body weight while a typical fast food meal easily contains over 1,000 calories. Some meals provide more than a day’s worth of calories. Sit-down restaurants are notorious for serving large portions of high-calorie foods, which is why many nutritionists advise splitting a meal with a friend or taking half of it home. Another way to use portion control is to avoid eating out of packages and in-front of the TV. In both cases, research shows you’ll eat more. Instead, take food out of the package first and enjoy every bite while you’re free from distractions.
Portion control plays a huge part in losing weight.  Most people don't even realize how much calories they are taking in.  Sometimes what people think is not a lot of food, they are taking in two or three times more than they should.  The best way to know how much food you should take in by food type is this.  Protein should be the size of the palm of your hand and carbohydrates should be the size of your fist.  Of course having a food scale is not bad either to help weight your food too.  In the end just cut your portions it will go a long way to help you cut calories and lose weight. 
In order to lose weight you need to decrease your daily caloric intake, increase your daily physical activity, or do both. One way to decrease your daily caloric intake is to control your portion sizes. It's no secret that we are experiencing a global obesity epidemic. It's also no secret that portion sizes today are two-to-five times the size of what they were 20 years ago. So, not only are we eating more food - we are also eating more fast food and other types of unhealthy foods.

Portion control does not necessarily eliminate foods from your diet. Instead, it teaches you how to eat enough food for energy, nutrients, and pleasure, and stop there. This amount of food should leave you feeling satisfied, but not necessarily full.

Even low-fat and nonfat foods can deliver a lot of excess calories if a person does not control portion sizes. For example, a serving of low-fat ice cream can be a great treat even for someone trying to lose weight, however eating the whole tub is clearly too much.

The main goal of a weight loss diet is to consume less calories than you need to maintain your weight. Focus on choosing nutrient dense foods. This means choosing foods that will provide a lot of the necessary nutrients and a minimal amount of calories. Selecting a bunch of grapes over a class of coke is a good example. They both provide about the same amount of calories, however the grapes provide you with a lot more nutrients than the glass of coke.

Eat smaller portions and focus the majority of your diet on whole grains, legumes, lean protein sources, fresh vegetables and fruit. Eat slowly and limit the amount of high-fat foods you consume. Add in some regular physical activity and you will be well on your way to achieving successful long-term weight loss. Remember, the goal for weight loss is to consume less calories than you burn. Eating less and moving more will help you create the daily caloric deficit you need in order to lose that weight.
Dominique Adair
Many people gain weight (or have a hard time losing it) not because they eat a lot of junk, but because they eat healthy foods, just TOO MUCH of them.  Portion control (or awareness) is an an important part of evidence-based weight management programs.  Here are a few portion awareness strategies:

1. Use a smaller plate and divide it in your mind into three compartments: 50% fruits and vegetables, 25% high fiber carbohydrate (brown rice, beans, quinoa, etc.) and 25% lean protein (egg whites, chicken, fish, tofu, etc.).
2. When eating out, ask them to put your portion in half BEFORE it comes to the table and deliver the other half to you in a take-out container.
3. Buy a set of measuring cups and measure your foods for a few weeks until your eye gets used to the new, measured portion.
4. Buy a food scale and weigh your foods until your eye becomes used to the new weighed portion.
5. Take a look at food labels to determine what an appropriate portion should be.  If you eat double the labeled portion, you’ll need to double all the nutrition info on the label as well.

Many people eat very well, just too much of it.  This can impede weight loss as much as eating a lot of fast food. 
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Portion control is the key to losing weight because most of us eat enough until our stomachs can’t hold anymore. That is, we don’t eat until we are full by the number of calories we need to live; that’s the real way that we used to eat, but now we eat until our stomachs are absolutely stretched, a la Thanksgiving. So, that means that portion control is key to helping you understand how many calories you take in and calories that you take in are absolutely key to your losing weight.

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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.