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Most habits that we struggle with in adulthood were acquired in childhood. Overeating is one such habit. Until recently, most Nigerian parents had no understanding of the concept of serving size. They just knew that well-fed children were healthy children and food wastage was a sin. Therefore, when their children were served a portion of food that was considered suitable for their age, they were mandated to finish it up. Protests over the large portions were hushed and countered with threats of using the cane. Over time, the children learnt to swallow their complaints and to do as instructed.

As they grew older, the portion sizes increased and even though their parents were no longer looking over their shoulders as they ate, they continued to finish their portions. Over the course of a lifetime of struggling to finish their meals, overeating became a habit and with it came bloating, heartburn, excessive weight gain and other health issues. Oftentimes, it is these health issues or the fear of them that bring portion control to their attention.

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What then is a portion size? It is the amount of food consumed in one sitting. It can be big or small and the size is usually determined by whoever is dishing the food. The aim of portion control is to derive all the benefits from the food that you eat while eating less. To do this successfully, you need to eat the right serving size. A serving size is typically measured in cups or ounces and its standard is set by food nutrition labels. Below are the benefits of portion control:

1. Improving Satiety:

Going from mindless eating to portion management is not easy. It’s especially difficult for fast eaters because their portion would be gone so quickly they’d feel like they hadn’t eaten at all. If they are not disciplined, they’d simply say, “who portion control epp?” and throw in the towel. Does this mean that attaining satiety is impossible with portion control? Certainly not. The trick is to eat slowly. When you do, you give your body time to realize that it’s satiated. Moreover, if you incorporate a good amount of carbs, fats and proteins in each meal, it would keep you satisfied throughout the day.

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2. Digestion Improvement:

Frankly, overloading your digestive system with food stresses it out. Indigestion, stomach pain and discomfort are the likely results. But when you learn portion control, your digestive system would start functioning better. This is because the bloating, pain and general discomfort experienced after meals as a result of overeating would be eliminated.

3. Balanced Blood Sugar Levels:

The food we eat is usually turned into glucose by the body. This provides energy for the body. Now, when you eat a large meal, your glucose level rises quickly. When your bloodstream is flooded with glucose, your pancreas releases insulin to move that glucose into your cells for use. Oftentimes though, when your glucose level rises fast, your pancreas will produce too much insulin in response. This leads to low blood sugar. Once your brain receives this signal for more glucose, you start craving sugar. If you eat it in excess, the cycle begins again. However, you can avoid this cycle of low and high blood sugar by eating small, frequent meals. It would help you keep your glucose and insulin levels stable.

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4. It3 Money:

Let’s face it, healthy foods are expensive. However, when you eat the recommended serving sizes, you’d come to appreciate the saying, less is more. That’s because you’ll eat healthy while spending less money on food. You’ll also reduce food wastage because you’ll eat only what you need and save the rest for another time. When portion control becomes a habit, processed food consumption would be minimized in favour of homemade food and this would also save costs.

In conclusion, practicing portion control would help you to watch your calorie consumption and be healthier.


Eat Smart

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This article was first published on 23rd April 2022


Udevi, Obiamaka Angela holds a Master of Arts degree in History & International Studies. She's a freelance writer with a passion for food and healthy living. She can be contacted through her email address,

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