|There is a rising problem in the U.S. today, and this
problem is contributing to weight gain of Americans at a
This problem is the ever growing portion sizes provided in
restaurants and stores across America. Research from a
study conducted by the Department of Nutritional
Sciences at Pennsylvania State University, shows the
larger the portion size on your plate, the more you will
Most people do not stop eating when they feel their "full"
cue in their stomach. We eat because it's there. The
problem is; portion sizes are growing at an alarming rate.
As this rate continues to grow we become immune to it
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|and it just seems like a normal portion leading us to consume more and more
In the 1970's a 12 ounce soda was a typical size you would get as a fountain
drink from a restaurant or quick stop and now it is 20 ounces. Bagels used to
weigh 2-3 ounces and now weigh 4-7 ounces. A regular size serving of French
fries from McDonalds (you remember…the one that came in the little white
paper bag) weighs one third the weight of the largest size now. This becomes so
normal to us that when we see the "smaller" servings it looks like a tiny amount
of food and surely couldn't fill us up. This is an even bigger problem for the
youth today. This is all they know and when they see what a portion size should
look like it will appear very small.
In my office I have fake food samples to show correct portions. Most people
laugh and say, "I eat three times that amount!" or "That would never fill me
up". These are, in fact, the portion sizes we should be eating. Once people start to
pay attention to their fullness cues they start to realize that these smaller portion
sizes along with learning how to balance their meals correctly can fill them up.
When I lived in Santa Barbara, CA my husband and I would occasionally treat
ourselves to Cold Stone ice cream. Anyone who lives in Santa Barbara knows
that the line at Cold Stone's is always so long it goes out the front door. I always
noticed as I waited in line that the majority of people would come out with these
giant waffle cones stuffed with what looks like a pint of ice cream. My husband
gets these giant cones and one day I asked him, "Why do you get such a huge
ice-cream cone?" He paused and said, "Because it's there and everyone is
walking out with them. It looks good". He then glanced at my single scoop on
my small cone and said, "That looks like a sample". It was true. My regular sized
ice-cream cone now looks like a tiny sample.
Portion sizes of this magnitude are going to lead to alarming rates of weight
gain. I estimated the calories in one of the large cones (ice-cream with cone and
topping) and it equals around 1,160 calories compared to the single sized cone of
370 calories. My small "sample" size as my husband calls it is still a large
amount of calories for a treat. The large cone is almost equivalent to a days
worth of calories.
This isn't a lecture on having treats once in awhile. It is just a friendly reminder
to not get too comfortable with these large portion sizes because they will lead
you to gain weight at a rapid rate. Enjoy your food but remember an actual
portion size is usually much smaller than what you will get in the store or
restaurant. If you want to manage your weight successfully, go for the small
size or "kids" size even if it looks like a sample.
(c) 2006, Meri Raffetto
Meri Raffetto - EzineArticles Expert Author
Owner of Real Living Nutrition Services, Meri Raffetto is a Registered Dietitian
and recognized professional in the area of nutrition and wellness. She specializes
in weight management and offers online programs to help people reach their
weight loss and health goals. For more weight loss tips sign up for her free e-
newsletter and get a copy of our free special report to start working towards your
weight loss and health goals at http://www.reallivingnutrition.