Something that I talk about with my clients regularly is how big a portion of food should be. It seems to me that we have got collective amnesia when it comes to how much we should be eating and there is very little advice around except what food manufacturers decide to print on the packet. Not much good if your objective is to buy and eat food that doesn’t come in a packet…
In my experience of being an obese person, one of the most insidious effects of fast, processed carbohydrates was to make you want more and more of them. “Want” is probably the wrong term as it suggests there was some sort of choice in the matter and to my mind there wasn’t much choosing by me, it seemed to happen without my noticing that my portions of carbohydrate got larger and larger. By the time I reached my heaviest, I would think nothing of cooking an entire 500g packet of spaghetti for two of us and then eating most of it myself. My portion would barely fit on the plate and, after I had finished it, moving around was quite uncomfortable for a while. But that was the amount of spaghetti I had to eat to feel like I had eaten enough. I didn’t worry that so much spaghetti was making me over weight because spaghetti has no fat in it and it’s fat that makes you fat, right? Wrong. That amount of carbohydrate was massively spiking my insulin, forcing me to store almost everything I ate; storing the energy from the carbohydrate as fat, and a lot of it too. What’s worse is that when the insulin had done its job and stored everything away, my blood was then low in glucose and within a couple of hours I was hungry again. So the cycle of weight gain goes round and round and potions get ever larger to try to stop the feelings of hunger but larger portions make you MORE hungry, not less.
Today the Guardian tells us that a portion for spaghetti is about the size of a tennis ball at 150g.
I don’t know what the weight was of the portions I used to eat but they were more like a volley ball size than a tennis ball. I do know what my recommended portion size is for spaghetti now is though. 0g. Enjoy.