Portion Control, Not Fad Diets, For Weight-Loss

New diets that yet again promise more effective weight-loss over previous versions come out as often as restaurants release new seasonal menus. It seems like fad diets, or weight-control diets, that feature trendy ‘science’, marketable ingredients and with a hint of new-age edginess, come and go like the tide. Before you see the results, if any at all, you are now swept up by a new wave of nutrition fad.

But, you can save yourself from this over-complication of what is easily a basic health common sense—control your portions and do not overeat. Basically, it is all about putting less in your stomach and adding less to your waistline.

The US Centers for Disease Control recently released new data that showed the average weight of men and women in the US are on an upward trajectory, with their average body-mass index closing in on the cutoff line for obesity. To add to the country’s fight against the epidemic, the US Food and Drug Administration is introducing revisions to recommended serving sizes for packaged foods.


The Fads Are Not For The Average People

Contrary to the diet fads made popular by Hollywood, high society and trendsetters who can afford to snap daily pictures of overpriced scientifically-unsubstantiated “superfoods”, what the average man and woman on the street really need to take seriously is portion control.

Some of these fads do work, but only if your entire waking hours revolve around health and fitness like fitness instructors, motivational personalities and entertainment stars who can devote much more time into their nutrition. For the rest of us who sit by the desk typing away at our computers at work, or have other commitments that prevent us from living in the gym, these fads can do us a greater disservice than benefit.

For instance, ketogenic diets have been all the rage in recent times. Its headline-grabbing claim of eating almost zero carbohydrates and loading up on copious fat and protein has been touted to switch the body to fat-burn mode. While the biology adds up in some areas, it is a diet that is simply too hard for the average person to follow through fully. Not only does it cause people to perform badly in the psychological department, but it also puts people at higher risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Such a diet can also be very expensive in the real world.

Some diets that worship certain foods also send its followers on a wild goose chase through placeboes and feel-good nutritional sermons. Items like honey, maple and agave syrups have been making the rounds as the new international healthier alternative to the ‘evil’ sugar. But these same gooey substances are themselves laden with it and are even harder for people to calculate their energy packages as compared to counting sugar cubes.

“Superfoods” like blueberries, acai, avocados and many others have also been put on a pedestal alongside the non-GMO organic food movement. Not only are these “superfoods” overpriced to the point you have to either choose to be healthy but poor or so-called “less healthy”, but the nutrients they provide are already represented in a balanced diet with your everyday vegetables and fruits that cost way less.


Portion Control Can Be Exercised By Anyone

Unlike these dieting fads that have not yet been able to stem the fat tide and dissuade people from going for an upsize, the practice of portion control is a (potentially) money-saving and practical approach to trimming the waistline.

The discipline of moderation can also be adapted into a way of living in other parts of your everyday life. Without demanding your utmost fealty by strictly eating avocado on gluten-free toast, Greek yoghurt with organic berry mix or completely swearing off chicken skin, controlling portion simply asks that you cut back on rice, noodles, burgers, sodas and anything we already know should not be over-indulged on.

It is a much more palatable way of conditioning our physical and mental states to gradually take on healthier approaches to eating, promoting moderation while allowing a small room for pleasures.

One good thing about how regulations are helping you to make conscious decisions to control your serving sizes is that food packagings now spell out what is in one portion. While you now have to summon your long-lost mental sums ability you learnt in primary school at the supermarket aisle, these labels help you to see your diet from a math perspective. That Tom who buys and eats 20 watermelons in your math question is surely ingesting more sugar than Stephanie will from one glass of wine. Something closer to home? You now know your one glass of fresh milk contains less sugar than its low-fat version, and you can opt to control your milk indulgence instead of switching to the bank-breaking almond milk that you may not even like at all.