Stop Portion Distortion!

The saying "everything in moderation" is especially true when it comes to portion size.

stop portion distortion

It’s easy to overestimate the size of half a cup or three ounces when you’re starting a diet. Using our recipes and following the 7 Years Younger Anti-Aging Breakthrough Diet meal plan will help you learn to estimate what a portion size should be when you’re dining out and when you’re preparing your own recipes. One panelist who tested the diet learned this when she stopped counting the chips she was eating as a snack because she thought she could “eyeball it. I gained weight back that week,” she says. “When I suspected that the chips might be a problem, I went back to counting them. That got me back on track.” She went on to lose 8 pounds in 7 weeks.

Here is a reminder of what a portion size looks like for various kinds of food:

• 3 ounces of fish, poultry, or meat = an iPhone
• 1 ounce of cheese = two sets of dice
• 2 tablespoons of salad dressing = a shot glass
• 1/2 cup of grains, rice, or pasta = a tennis ball
• Small dinner roll = a computer mouse
• 1/4 cup of nuts = a large egg
• 1 teaspoon of butter = a Scrabble® tile

It pays to measure
Measuring is a calorie saver that catches many people by surprise. Just how far astray can you go when you freely pour what you think is about a teaspoon of sugar or a tablespoon of olive oil? To find out, the nutrition lab in the Good Housekeeping Research Institute asked a group of volunteers to prep a few meals and snacks following our intentionally vague instructions about amounts. No surprise: They came up with vastly different interpretations of portions. Imagine what these results can do to a diet:

Testers were told to

Lightest Hand

Heaviest Hand

Calorie Difference

“Pour some dressing over the salad”

1/8 tbsp.
(9 cals.)

2 1/3 tbsp.
 (169 cals)


“Grab a handful of nuts”

6 almonds
(41 cals.)

30 almonds
(207 cals.)


“Put a schmear of peanut butter on a slice of bread”

2/3 tsp.
(19 cals.)

1½ tbsp.
(141 cals.)


“Drizzle olive oil in a pan” (to sauté broccoli)

2/3 tsp.
(26 cals.)

1 ¾ tbsp.
(209 cals.)





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