One Cup of Carbs is —how much?

Your Weight-Loss Foods: 1 Serving of Carbs


By James Beckerman, M.D.                                                            

Published  March 10, 2014
                                        Portion control is a key component of a healthful and sustainable weight-loss program, because reducing how much we eat can be as important as choosing what we eat. But that can be difficult with carbohydrates.
Carbs are tricky because it’s easy to consume large amounts without recognizing the caloric impact. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that we tend to overestimate what a portion size should be for high-carbohydrate foods as compared with high-fat foods. And unfortunately, our portion sizes tend to correlate with our body mass index (BMI). In other words, the bigger we are, the more carbs we put on our plate.
If we mindfully regulate portion sizes, we may be better able to continue enjoying the foods we prefer while still benefiting from smaller servings, and therefore, fewer calories.
Grab a measuring cup from your kitchen drawer and use it with cereal, rice and pasta. Eat the same meal you were planning on, but with just one measured cup of the carbohydrate. One cup of cooked pasta or rice is typically a serving size and contains about 200 calories. One cup of cold, non-granola breakfast cereal – again, the recommended serving size – typically has 100-150 calories.
When you use a measuring cup, you may notice something disturbing. Most of us usually serve ourselves at least double these amounts, partly because we use large plates and bowls, and partly because we have a tough time eyeballing portions without a little bit of help. If you’re one of the 30% of people who eat cold cereal for breakfast, you could drop 500 calories a week by measuring out a cup before putting it in your bowl. Subtract an additional 100 or more calories per spaghetti dinner or Chinese take-out meal.
Even better? You’ll probably find that one cup is plenty. If you want more food, add a cup of veggies to your pasta or fruit to your cereal.
One cup of carbs is all it takes.