How Food Portions Affect The Average Diet

Knowing what a single serving of food really is can help Americans from getting fatter and fatter as a people and nation every year. Supersized portions of food weren't even heard of in our grandparents' and great-grandparents' day. The higher rates of diabetes and heart disease can unfortunately be attributed mainly to the extra large portions of food people eat, according to many nutrition experts. At one point, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association; 300,000 deaths could be attributed to obesity a year. Those numbers are even larger today. Americans, at one point, were weighing over 20 percent too much of their weight. At one point, 22 percent were considered obese and half of Americans were considered overweight. Unfortunately, those numbers keep growing and growing every year.

Fast food was even different for Americans decades ago when it came to calories. Today, an average fast food meal consists of a burger with 6 ounces of meat and a drink that can be from a quart to a half-gallon (32 to 64 ounces). In the 1950s, a fast food meal consisted of a burger with only 1 ounce of meat and the drink was only a cup (8 ounces).

People tend to eat more food when more food is placed in front of them. Bigger is not always better. Larger packages of food unfortunately encourage people to 9 to 36 percent more of the product. Large packages of snacks and candy unfortunately encourage people to eat 50 percent more. In an experiment, when moviegoers were given a medium and a large bag of popcorn, moviegoers tend to eat 44 percent more popcorn from the big bag than from the medium bag.

Restaurants have particularly been bashed recently for supersized servings of food. Some fast foods have enough calories for the day for an average American in just one serving. An example of this can be cheese fries from steakhouses that not only have cheese but ranch dressing as well. It is estimated that a 4 cup serving can contain as much as two-thirds worth of fat and 3,000 calories. Compared to the government's standards on food portions, restaurant's portions of food can be two to four times bigger.

It is simple but true. People get fatter when they eat more because the more calories are taken in the body. Research has found that people tend to consume less fiber but more fat and calories when they ate in restaurants. This cover people of all ages. In a study, women took in 30 percent more fat and 16 percent more calories per day when they ate takeout food or ate in a restaurant at least 6 times a week than women who ate takeout food less often. That's an extra 288 calories a day.

Visualizing portions according to one serving can help in controlling your calories and weight. For example, a drink is 1 cup (8 ounces). A one serving hamburger is what would be considered a kid's size burger. A serving of bread is 1 slice. A serving of French fries is only 10. A serving of meat should be the size of a bar of soap. A serving of rice, cereal and pasta as well as fruit and vegetables should be the size of a tennis ball or hockey puck.

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About The Author, Michael Russell
Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Food