Portion control (dieting)

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Portion control is understanding how much a serving size of food is and how many calories or how much food energy a serving contains. Portion control is important for body weight management as the weight is defined by the total calorie intake. Healthy eating, using Aristotle's philosophy, is the desirable middle between the extremes of excess and deficiency (over-eating and not eating enough), the "golden mean." Portion control is eating a healthy balance of amount and types, of varied foods.

Food guide pyramids are used as a visual aid to help people eat a varied diet and control portions.

The failure to control portions is often caused by emotional factors such as a depressed mood or boredom. To avoid overeating triggered by emotions, planning meals ahead and using smaller dishes may be helpful.

Portion sizes can be estimated by using objects as a point of reference. One way of determining portion size is to compare hand size. For example a healthy serving of protein should not be larger than a palm size piece of meat. Carbohydrate servings such as pasta can be measured by fistfuls. A healthy serving of pasta should be one fistful.

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