Historically, we have almost been taught that losing weight is a matter of “calories in/calories expended”, so the formula to losing/controlling weight is “eat less and exercise more”. Then Dr. Atkins came along with his very famous “Atkins Diet”, and basically, people were shown that you can eat as much protein as you want and lose weight, as long as you stay away from any carbohydrates. The success of following the Atkins Diet basically threw out the window the concept of “calories in/calories expended”.
So, we can see that the portions of protein in our dietary plans do not really adversely impact weight control. Contrarily, those people that do not eat enough protein portions will struggle to lose weight. Additionally, if people are not eating enough protein portions and losing weight, body composition analysis will show that most likely too much muscle is being lost as opposed to body fat. Clearly, the best type of weight loss that can occur (i.e. losing body fat percentage) will involve keeping protein portions quite high.
There are a number of other foods that portions can be quite liberal. In the SP Plan, our booklet offers up a list of “free selections” which means that you can basically eat as much of these as you desire without being concerned about portions. Lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, pickles and other vegetables fall under this category.
Sorry to be “Captain Obvious” (oops…Doctor Obvious I mean) here, but the portions of carbohydrates, fruits and fats should be monitored and restricted for safe and effective weight control. There is no rocket science here: The sugars in the carbs, starches and fruits will derail weight control efforts. If portion control is not exerted on these food sources, weight loss will be very difficult to attain/maintain. Concerning fat portions, although eating lots of fat can still be compatible with weight loss (in the Atkins Diet high fat intake was allowed) the concern with overeating of fat is the ramifications on cholesterol and lipid levels in the bloodstream.
One more comment about portions and that is concerning alcohol: The ingestion of alcohol derails weight control efforts in most cases so the less “portions” the better.
In summary, there is little importance of portion control when it comes to lean proteins and non-carb vegetables. However, it is very important to monitor portions of the other food groups, most notably carbohydrates and starches.