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Written by: Chené Murphy on Nov 22nd, 2022

Dr. Lisa Young 2023:  Renowned Portion Control Expert

We interviewed Dr. Lisa Young, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim, private practice nutritionist, and adjunct professor of nutrition in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University. 

Widely considered an expert on portion control, Dr. Young shares insights with us on achieving your nutrition goals by creating healthier habits today.

What inspired you to choose a career path in nutrition?

I recognized the importance of nutrition and health at a young age. I was influenced by my late grandmother who was a breast cancer survivor and always strived to gather the latest info on nutrition.

We also feel better when we eat better and I recognized that connection while still in college. Rather than wait till we get a disease to change our habits, I suggest eating well to prevent disease.

What are some of the most common nutritional mistakes that you observe people making?

People often have black and white thinking when it comes to food. And that’s a mistake. We aren’t lab rats and we don’t need to eat perfectly to be healthy.

People often also think that if one nutrient is good for you (carbs, for example), then the other is bad for you (fat, for example.) In truth, there are healthy carbs and healthy fats. The solution is balance as opposed to all-or-nothing.

If you could persuade people to change three things about their diet, what would they be?

Focus on healthy foods you can ADD to your diet rather than focusing on restricting foods. Practice portion control by eating more healthy foods and less unhealthy foods. Make half your plate colorful fruits and vegetables.

Let’s talk diet trends – There’s intermittent fasting, Keto, and Banting to name a few. What do you suggest people look out for when making dietary changes and what’s important in creating a healthy lifestyle?

The most important thing to look for is to create a lifestyle program that works for you! Do something you can sustain. The best diet to go on is the one you don’t know you’re on – something that feels natural for your life. No point in cutting carbs and doing keto for a few weeks just to go off it and then binge on carbs. All foods fit – portion control is key.

How important is exercise and how much of it should we be doing?

Exercise is very important. Find movement you enjoy. And do a mix of cardio and strength training. Aim for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.

Do you have any tips or advice to offer on what to look for when considering pre-cooked or pre-packaged meals for convenience?

Look at the full nutrition profile and read the ingredient list. Eat a reasonable portion size, read food labels, and aim to limit added sugar and sodium. Enjoy a meal made with whole grains and vegetables, and at least several grams of fiber.

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