Nutrition: How much is enough?

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The hypothalamus is a major player in the control of appetite and satiety.   It is also very important in regulating metabolism. Because of this, we see individuals with HH who may have to watch their food intake much more carefully to prevent weight gain and/or weight loss. And whether appetite, satiety,  and/or metabolism are affected is due to how the HH affects the hypothalamus. This leads us to ask: what is a normal appetite and how much food is enough?

The surest way to determine how much food is enough is to weigh one’s self. The amount of energy/calories that we take in should equal the amount of energy that we expend. Thus, weight should be stable in adults and weight should increase in proportion to height in children and teens. Sometimes this requires some experimentation. It is interesting that sometimes something as simple as a single slice of bread every day or a cup of juice can make the difference between gaining weight or keeping weight stable.

For a very long time, we in the nutrition community have used everyday objects or our own hand to demonstrate portion sizes. And because something as simple as a change in portion size can mean the difference between normal weight and increased weight, I thought a quick review of regular portion sizes would be helpful.

Everyday objects and portion size:

Object Portion Size
Deck of Cards 2-3 ounces of meat, poultry, fish10 medium length French fries

 

8 ounce carton 1 cup milk 
Baseball 1 cup leafy vegetables1 small apple or medium pear

1 cup ready-to-eat cereal

1 cup yogurt

1 cup cooked, dry beans

 

2 batteries (9 volt) 1-1/2 ounces natural cheese, like cheddar 
small computer mouse ½ cup cooked vegetables½ cup chopped or canned fruit

½ cup cooked cereal, rice, or pasta

 

CD 1 slice bread

 

Your hand and portion size:

Fist = 1 cup Use for beverages, cereal, casseroles, soups, fresh fruit, salads 
Cupped hand = ½ cup Use for pasta, rice, beans, potatoes, cooked vegetables, pudding, ice cream 
Palm of hand – 3 ounces Use for meat, poultry, fish 
Thumb – 1 tablespoon Use for salad dressing, peanut butter, sour cream, cream cheeseAlso use for 1 ounce of cheese

 

Thumb Tip = 1 teaspoon Use for butter, margarine, mayonnaise, oil