Here are some strategies we can use to prevent our growing supersized!
Bigger May Not Be Better
Commonly available food portions were compared with standard portion serving sizes of the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Guide Pyramid. Their findings included:
--Cookies were as much as 7 times standard portion sizes.
--Servings of cooked pasta were often nearly 5 times standard portion sizes.
--Muffins weighed in at over 3 times standard portion sizes.
--They found that, overall, marketplace food portions are consistently larger than in the past. They note a popular fast-food chain only offered one size of French fries in the mid-1950s. That size is now labeled “small” and is one third the weight of the largest size in 2001.
--When ethnic foods are Americanized, the portion size may grow. Several examples are offered by Melanie Polk, RD and Director of Nutrition Education at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR):
--The American croissant is bigger and contains about 100 more calories than one in France.
--When the bagel was introduced to the U.S. by Jewish bakers from Poland, it weighed 1 1/2 ounces and contained 116 ounces. Today’s American bagel is about triple the size and calories. It weighs in around 4 to 4 1/2 ounces and may contain over 300 calories.
--The Mexican quesadilla has doubled in calories and increased in size. In Mexico, a quesadilla is a 5-inch tortilla containing around 540 calories and 32 grams of fat. The American quesadilla is typically 10 inches and Polk calculates that one serving could contain over 1,200 calories and 70 grams of fat.
While these larger portions may be appropriate for an active person, they may be too much for a more sedentary person. However, many of us may not think about decreasing our portion sizes in relation to our activity level.
Sixty-seven percent of Americans usually eat everything or almost everything on their plates.Even lean young men who were considered able to regulate their food intake well ate more when offered larger portions in a research study, Feel Full on Fewer Calories. They ate 10 ounces of a 16-ounce portion of macaroni. However, when offered 25 ounces, they ate 15 ounces, a 50 percent increase!
Bottom Line: If you’re putting on the pounds, check those portion sizes!
Don’t Be Penny Wise and Pound Foolish
Ben Franklin warned of being penny wise and pound foolish. Put this into practice with portion sizes. While you can “supersize” a fast-food meal for a few cents, does adding the extra calories make sense?
For an additional 50 cents, customers could increase their pastry size at a popular food chain from 3-ounces to 8-ounces. At the same time, they added 370 calories (a jump from 300 to 670 calories!)
Another fast-food chain lets you “biggie size” a hamburger-type combo meal for 39 cents and a gain of 180 calories (an increase from 1,360 to 1,540 calories).
On average, consumption of an additional 100 calories daily beyond your needs can lead to a weight gain of 10 pounds a year. Is it penny wise to supersize? Maybe. Pound foolish? You decide.
A Third Option: Buy the larger portion and split it with a friend! You save both calories and coins!
Bottom Line: While you may get more for your money with a larger portion size, you may pay for it on the bathroom scale!
For further information, call your local LSU AgCenter Staff at (337) 824-1773.