Nutrition experts recommend using hand measurements to control portion sizes

GLENDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- Must people know they need to watch how much food they eat, but experts said most people lack knowledge about actual portion sizes. Even when people know portion sizes, it's rare that'll be the actually amount served.

"We don't get a cup and a half of pasta. We get three to four cups of pasta, sometimes more," explained dietitian Misti Gueron of the Khalili Center.

Two dietitians came up with a solution known as "nutrition by the handful." This is where eaters measure their food by sizing it with their hands.

"Your palm is for your protein serving, your fist is for your vegetables, your cup size for your starch and your whole thumb for your fats," Gueron said.

Gueron reviewed the program and gave it a thumbs up as a "no excuse" way to eat.

"I love nutrition in a handful because we have our hands with us of course," Gueron reminded.

Experts said hand size typically is in proportion with the person, so men are generally allowed handfuls two to one compared to women, because men usually have larger mass and can burn more calories easily.

Mixed foods like lasagna can be challenging, but after measuring with hands for awhile, eyeballing food can be simple. An over-sized breakfast bagel can be cut in half or eaten open faced.

If the dieter still craves food, an extra fist of veggies was recommended.

Experts said chewing slower was another calorie cutting measure.

In one study, young children were required to wait 30 seconds in between bites and then were instructed to chew food bites as best they could. This resulted in a 10 percent drop in weight for this group. As after 20 minutes the brain signals fullness.

Experts said no matter what diet or approached used, the main factor to weight loss is sticking to it, so the simpler the better, like using hands to size up portions.
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