Portions and Nutrition—how do they relate?

Friday, March 6, 2020

Food and nutrition are the way that we get fuel, providing energy for our bodies. We need to replace nutrients in our bodies with a new supply every day. Water is an important component of nutrition. Fats, proteins, and carbohydrates are all required. Portions are how much we choose to eat of those foods and nutrition.

We have all come to realize that what we eat and how much we eat are both very important to our health. We need to fuel our bodies with the nutrients we need to thrive…everyday. However, eating more of what we need beyond what our daily requirements are to fuel our bodies, even of healthy ingredients, is not necessarily beneficial. Our bodies cannot make good use of excess. More is not better. That is where portions, specifically, serving sizes, come in.


Servings are based on the amount of calories an average person burns in a day and then is broken down into specific amounts that a person should eat per meal.  It is an average based on consuming 2000 calories per day and assumes a “net neutral” outcome…meaning you will burn in a day the same amount as you consume. This is how we keep from gaining any weight and how we can also lose weight, if that is our goal. This is a great place to start. In reality, according to a recent report provided by The Food and Agriculture Organization, Americans eat an average of over 3,600 calories a day. This is well above the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommendations and why people are becoming increasingly obese and facing a whole host of health challenges from heart disease and diabetes to many cancers…and these are just a few examples of obesity-related diseases.


Do any of us really know what a serving size is for any given food or food group? Nope, we don’t. It is not something we are taught and yet it is incredibly important information for us to learn so we can make informed decisions and choices regarding what we eat and how much we eat. That is why Livliga was created; to provide a framework and guide for people to serve up and measure their food in right sized balanced portions.

Interestingly, a new group has been formed to take on portion control in a big way as the next frontier in battling the obesity epidemic. The Portion Balance Coalition, according to their website, is a multi-sector collaborative whose members have come together to identify, co-create, and implement demand- and supply-side innovations in support of a balanced, healthy diet. The members of this collaborative include: Nestlé, PepsiCo, the American Beverage Association, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the American Heart Association, as well as others. This is an exciting opportunity to promote real change in the super-sized world we live in where portions and nutrition could once again be aligned to support people in living a healthy lifestyle.

Portions and nutrition go hand in glove together. We cannot manage our weight or get the balanced meals with the nutrients we need to thrive without paying attention to both. Our health and quality of life depends on it!


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