Portion Swapping: One small bite for mankind

May 5, 2023

Written by: Nathan E. Boys, DO | Family Medicine Resident (PGY-1)

Dave is 49 years old. Dave is obese, has high blood pressure and high cholesterol. He was recently told by his physician that losing weight would help improve his blood pressure and cholesterol. His physician recommended he make adjustments to his diet by implementing portion swapping. Dave has tried unsuccessfully to lose weight before, but he has not heard of this method. Later that week his family goes to a steakhouse. Dave is craving his usual 12-ounce steak, but after reading about portion swapping, he has a decision to make.

Dave is like many people living in America today. By 2030, it is estimated half of the US population will be obese. Obesity is a complicated disease caused by a combination of behavioral and genetic factors. While we often focus on individual behavior, other factors like familial behavior and societal culture around eating also influence our decisions (who didn’t grow up avoiding Brussel sprouts because we heard they were gross or “clean our plate” despite feeling full?). Genetics also influence our ability to lose weight, such as those with a family history of insulin resistance, but they do not get the final say in if we can shed the pounds or not.