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Avoid Portion Distortion

How to Downsize Your Dinner -- and Your Waistline

It All Adds Up

An extra bite here and there might not seem like much in the scheme of things. But a little too much salad dressing, one more scoop of potatoes, one more pat of butter -- day after day, these extra little helpings add up to sizeable numbers of calories.

According to the Surgeon General, the average adult gains one to three pounds per year by consuming as little as an extra 100 calories per day.

To put things in perspective, 100 calories is the difference between:

  • 2 tablespoons of light vinaigrette and 2 tablespoons of creamy dressing
  • A small handful of cashews and a large handful
  • A regular cheeseburger and a quarter-pound burger
  • A medium baked potato and a large one
  • Two slices of toast and a medium bagel
  • One cup of pasta versus 1 1/2 cups

Understanding serving sizes is key to a successful weight-management program. Your eating plan recommends specific amounts of foods to help you learn to accept portions that will result in weight loss.

So put your new knowledge to work and help stamp out portion distortion. Right-sizing your portions will bring big benefits for your health and your life.

Originally published Aug. 8, 2003
Medically updated Feb. 11, 2005.

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Reviewed on February 11, 2005

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