The Easy Guide to Serving Sizes

Decode serving sizes once and for all.

From large servings at restaurants to super-sized drinks, it's no surprise that our portions are getting bigger. In fact, one study found that today's servings are 50 to 150 calories larger than their counterparts in the 1980s. While that may not seem like a lot, it adds up! Even 100 extra calories a day can lead to a weight gain of 10 pounds a year. As larger servings become more and more common, it can distort what we view as a normal portion. While the best way to find out how much you're eating is to measure it out, measuring and weighing food can be a real pain and it isn't practical to whip out a measuring cup when you're eating out. Megan Casper, M.S., RDN, owner of Megan Casper Nutrition, and writer for Nourished Bite has come up with an easy way to estimate your serving sizes and keep your portions - and weight - in check. Print this cheat sheet and keep it handy when you dine out or cook at home.


Q: I end up overeating because it makes me feel better and I never really get full. I'd like to lose weight but this makes it hard. Any suggestions?

A: Being persistently hungry can cause big trouble. So can overeating for comfort/pleasure. These two behaviors, say researchers from Baylor University's Children's Nutrition Research Center, are controlled deep within your brain by serotonin-producing neurons, but operate separately from each other — one in the hypothalamus, the other in the midbrain. They both can, however, end up fueling poor nutritional choices and obesity.

Eating for Hunger

When hunger is your motive for eating, the question is: "Does your body know when you've had enough?" Well, if you are overweight, obese or have diabetes you may develop leptin resistance and your "I am full" hormone, leptin, can't do its job. The hormone's signal to your hypothalamus is dampened, and you keep eating.

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