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Thought Bullets
March 2003

Increases in Food Portion Sizes

Both the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Journal of the American Dietetic Association published articles in January of 2003 documenting increases in food portion sizes. Larger food portion sizes are not limited to away-from -home eating. It appears bigger portions have also found their way to the dining room table in the typical American home. I have often stated that the biggest problem with super-size portions may not be the added calories associated with them, but rather a shift in our thinking of what makes up a serving of food. Serving sizes that were satisfying 20 years ago are now often considered too small to be adequate.

Iíve always considered myself a visual learner. The visual impact of seeing large serving sizes of food over and over again seems to transfer to a change in my thinking of how much food is needed to satisfy my hunger. When it comes to serving sizes of food, Iím trying to convert from being a visual learner to a hunger satisfier.

Sources cited:
1 "Studies weigh in on supersizing of America," Nanci Hellmich, USA Today, January 21, 2003.

2 "Super-sized nation," John McKenzie, ABC, February 20, 2003.

3 "Americaís plates are fuller than ever," Ed Edelson, HealthScoutNews, January 21, 2003.

Additional references:
"Patterns and trends in food portion sizes, 1977-1998," Samara Joy Nielsen and Barry M. Popkin.  Journal of the American Medical Association, 289(4):450-453, 2003.

"Foods commonly eaten in the United States, 1989-1991 and 1994-1996:  Are portion sizes changing?"  Helen Smiciklas-Wright, Diane C. Mitchell, Sharon J. Mickle, Joseph D. Goldman, and Annetta Cook.  Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 103(1):41-47, 2003.

Compiled by Betty Holmes, MS, RD

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