Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Portion Distortion - Part II

For occasional over eaters like myself, I find these visual portion distortion reminders both a helpful reminder and a real eye opener. The first "whole" picture is the serving size you'll receive at the stated restaurant or store. The second picture to the right is the USDA recommended serving size for that same food.

From The Fooducate Blog

One of the most important pieces of information in a nutrition label is the serving size. Many people look at the calorie count, and are happy to see low numbers. But what they don’t notice is that they are consuming twice or more than the stated serving size. Which means twice the calories, twice the fat and sodium, etc.. (but on the bright side – also twice the minerals & vitamins.

There are some funny examples of products with ridiculously small serving sizes, for example “11 chips” for potato chips, or “2 cookies” for Oreos. These don’t make sense, because nobody eats so little. So why are these serving sizes used?

The answer is that a long time ago, the FDA/USDA surveyed consumers and set a “reference amount customarily  consumed” (RACC). The RACC was the amount of food normally consumed per eating occasion by persons four years of age or older.

But what has happened in the past few decades is that our actual RACCs have shot up skyward while the stated RACCs remained static. We can thank supersized meals in fast food establishments as one of the contributors to this phenomena. Without noticing, our expected potion sizes have ballooned. And so have we.