How Much SHOULD be Eaten vs. How Much We ACTUALLY Eat

How have food portions changed over the years?


Over time, portions of food in America have changed dramatically. From beverages to bagels, portions that are available to us have increased resulting in a growth of consumption as well. This has also resulted in a higher number of health issues among Americans, such as obesity and diabetes, due to the additional increase in poor nutrients.

Part of the blame can be put on the larger portions that are so readily available at the grocery store and at restaurants and fast food joints. Throughout the years the physical structures of several consumed goods have grown over twice their size, especially those by fast food chains. Soft drinks, burgers, and fries have roughly doubled in size and calorie count. Just about 20 years ago, the average cheeseburger had approximately 330 calories. The well-known McDonald’s Big Mac today holds about 540 calories. Likewise, the average soda size was a mere 6.5 ounces with 85 calories. Now, the average soda is a 20 ounce with 250 calories. Particularly with fast food chains, the ease of food portions also plays a major role. Several fast food restaurants allow consumers to upgrade or "Supersize" their orders for a reasonable price. A good size portion at a cheap price means temptation for more people.

However, we are also partially at blame by what we put in front of us. We have a tendency to want to consume the portions we give ourselves. With bigger food portions we are more likely to eat more even though we would be content without the excess calories.

What can I do?

Know the right portions. In order to consume a healthy amount of food and nutrients, learn the appropriate portions of each major food type. Learn the measurements of the food pyramid if necessary. The portions of your food may be average but be sure that it includes a balanced serving of healthy foods as well. In other words, just because you're not eating as much doesn't necessarily mean that what you're eating is healthy.

Have self control and limit your portions to a healthy but satisfying ration. Keep in mind that it is okay to grab a cheeseburger and fries every once in a while, as long as it is in moderation. Be able to say "No" to that upsize offer. If you've got the munchies and have the urge to snack on something that you know deep down is probably not the best thing for you, try substituting it for something a bit healthier. Take a look at our ideas for a healthy snack.

These days this availability of cheap fast food seems logical to several people and fast food locations are growing rapidly. With the easy access to such unhealthy food choices the health of Americans has significantly gone downhill. Obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are just a few of the health concerns associated with overeating and poor nutrition. So remember, avoid falling for the temptation of unhealthy and high food portions. It may seem like a bargain price for a high of quantity food but it also comes with very low quality nutrients.