What are the correct portion sizes on the Paleo Diet?
Portion sizes seem to create a lot of confusion when people transition from a SAD diet to a Paleo diet. Conventional wisdom diet plans (Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Tony Ferguson, Lite & Easy, Lighter Life, Slimming World, Slimfast… in fact, pretty much all of them) have at their very core defined portion sizes. These portion sizes are defined in many different ways; calorie counting to strict daily limits, staying within strict macro nutrient ranges or eating a set number of points each day – but they are all essentially strictly controlling the portion sizes the dieter is allowed to eat.
This means the conventional wisdom dieter knows exactly how much they should eat everyday – which takes the thought out of meal planning, as the exact portion sizes are prescribed. On a conventional diet plan, because the focus is on low calorie and often low-fat food, the dieter simply doesn't get the nutrition they need, which often results in a near constant state of hunger. Clearly if you eat the right foods, Paleo foods, there is no need to feel hungry – even if you are losing weight.
On a Paleo Diet, the types of food are emphasised – not the number of calories,or specific macro nutrient ratios. This can lead to confusion – surely you can’t eat unlimited serving sizes, especially not if you’re trying to lose weight?
So, you can eat as much as you like on a Paleo diet?
This seems to be a common trap people fall into. The belief that on a Paleo diet you can eat as much as you like – and provided it’s good wholesome Paleo food, the weight will fall off. There even seems to be the mindset in some cases that as the food is so nutritious – the more you eat – the better!
This just is not the case. No matter how nutritious the food, calories do still matter. If you eat more than your body needs – even if it is grass-fed, organic beef – it has to go somewhere.
So what is proper portion control on a Paleo diet?
There’s not a one size fits all answer here. The best approach is to transition into a Paleo diet – and once you are used to your new way of eating, experiment with your portion sizes. You should eat enough so you are no longer hungry – but should know when to stop eating!
Of course depending on your lifestyle and body type, your calorie and macro nutrient needs are likely to be as unique as you.
Increasing the amount of fat and protein at meal times is a lot more satiating and should help to reduce portion sizes.
If weight loss is the aim, portion sizes should not be too generous; but also cutting out nuts, and heavily limiting fruit consumption is a good idea.
Often women automatically take the same portion sizes as men, when generally they should have a smaller serving size.
How do you manage your portion sizes? Have you changed your serving sizes since you started following a Paleo Diet?