Giant Portions Can Lead to Big Health Problems

With the way portion sizes have expanded over the last few decades, it’s no wonder more people than ever struggle with their weight. Today, restaurant meals have grown so large that they are big enough to feed two people.

How have portion sizes changed?

Take a look at how much bigger — and how many more calories — you’re getting at restaurants today from what you would have received 20 years ago:

  • Coffee: Has gone from 8 ounces and 45 calories to a hefty 16 ounce and 350 calories for a mocha.
  • Muffins: Have grown from a 1.5-ounce, 210-calorie treat to 4 ounces and 500 calories.
  • Pizza:  Larger pies have expanded pepperoni pizza from 500 calories for two pieces to 850 calories.
  • Chicken Caesar salad: You used to get 1½ cups and 390 calories; today you’ll eat 3½ cups and 790 calories.
  • Cheesecake: A slice used to be 3 ounces and 260 calories, now cheesecake weighs in at 7 ounces and 640 calories.
  • Chocolate chip cookie: Used to be 1.5 inches in diameter and 55 calories, now it’s grown to 3.5 inches and 275 calories.        

What’s really right?

One way to cut down on your calorie intake is to learn how big portion sizes should be. But learning how big an ounce is can be difficult. Instead, try and remember the following to gauge if you’re eating too much? A serving of:

  • Vegetables or fruit is about the size of your fist.
  • Pasta is about the size of one scoop of ice cream.
  • Meat, fish or poultry is the size of a deck of cards.
  • Snacks such as pretzels and chips are about the size of a cupped handful.

For more questions about portion control or dieting, consult your Little Company of Mary primary care provider.

Source: NHLBI.NIH.gov

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