Friday, November 12, 2010

Portion Distortion

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It’s no surprise that obesity rates have escalated when you look at how portion sizes have changed over the past 20 years.

According to the National Lung, Heart and Blood Institute, 20 years ago, a typical bagel measured 3 inches in diameter (140 calories). Nowadays, the bagel has grown to be 6 inches in diameter and 350 calories- a 150% increase in calories per portion. In the past 20 years, we have added 400 calories to our serving size of French fries by increasing the portion size from 2.4 ounces to 6.9 ounces and have increased our spaghetti and meatball portion size (from 500 to 1, 025 calories per portion) to over half of the daily intake recommended by the USDA.

The extensive increase has caused healthy options to become unhealthy if eating the increase portion sizes for most of your meals. 20 years ago, a typical turkey sandwich totaled 320 calories, while turkey sandwiches today are closer to 820 calories.

These larger portion sizes add up. An additional 100 calories per day to your diet equals an additional 10 pounds in weight gain a year if you do not change your amount of physical activity.

Proper knowledge of portion sizes is extremely important. Not only is it important for controlling overeating, but it is also critical in ensuring daily recommendations are consumed. That is why OSP makes certain to teach kids about appropriate serving sizes, equipping kids with tools to make healthy choices.

Here are some familiar markers from eatbetteramerica to help you gauge exactly how much you are eating:

· Three ounces of red meat, fish, or poultry—a standard portion—is about the size of a flip-style cell phone.

· One cup of vegetables or an average portion of fruit is about the size of a tennis ball.

· One ounce of cheese is about the size of four dice.

· A medium baked potato is about the size of a computer mouse.

· One teaspoon of butter is about the size of a postage stamp.

· One ounce of peanut butter is about the size of a roll of film.

Take a look at your meals with these visual cues in mind. You might find that there's far more on your plate than you realized.

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