Friday, March 6, 2009

The Big Gulp

No, not the 7 eleven sugar drink ... I'm talking about portion sizes.

We all know that portion sizes are out of control these days, with super sized this and jumbo that. But do we always think about it when eating thing that we may not have considered to be potentially out of whack?

As a society, we’re eating more calories than ever, and a leading culprit is how often we eat prepared foods away from home. And, whether they come from a restaurant, takeout or vending machine, the portions we’re being served are often larger than life. According to one study, most marketplace food portions can be two to eight times larger than standard portion sizes. While the USDA considers a “medium” bagel to be about 2 ounces, the behemoths you find at a bagel store today can weigh in at 5 ounces—equivalent to 5 slices of bread! A jumbo baked potato at a restaurant might equal 6 to 8 slices of bread. Pretty hefty for what most people consider a side dish.

With the advent of megasized meals, jumbo muffins and extra-big drink cups, many of us have lost touch with what proper portions look like. We’ve gotten so used to seeing these oversized helpings that we think they’re normal—and that anything else looks skimpy. The problem just deepens as restaurant portion sizes creep into the plate-filling habits of home cooks


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