Obesity rates have climbed parallel to the super-size trend in America, and now, around the world. But it’s not just in restaurants that larger portions prevail. Researchers have found that perception of portion size has increased as well, no matter what the setting.
Researchers at Rutgers University, in New Jersey, studied portion sizes among college students ranging in age from 16 to 26. The students served themselves “typical” portions of food for breakfast, lunch or dinner, then the portions were weighed. Typical portion sizes for food exceeded the reference portion sizes established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, by 25 percent. They also increased from portion sizes just two decades ago.
“Portion sizes of virtually all foods and beverages prepared for immediate consumption have increased over the last two decades. Portion sizes of individually packaged and ready-to-eat prepared foods have increased as well as the portion sizes served at fast-food, chain and privately owned restaurants,” the researchers note in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. “Consumers now perceive these larger portion sizes as the appropriate amount to eat thus experience portion distortion.”