Portion distortion on the rise

September 7, 2006 in Healthy Eating, Nutrition Topics in the News, Weight Management

Portion distortion on the rise

Researchers from Rutgers University in New Jersey have found that people's perceptions of normal portion sizes have increased in the past twenty years.

The study findings, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, were based on 177 college students aged 16 to 26 who were asked to serve themselves "typical portion sizes" at either breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Researchers weighed the portions and compared them to reference serving sizes given on the food labels. Researchers found that not only were the portion sizes that the students served themselves much larger than that stated on the food label, but the serving size were significantly larger than portion sizes selected by young adults two decades ago.

This latest study replicated one that was done two decades ago in which participants were asked to serve themselves the amount they considered to be a typical portion of each meal item from a buffet table. By comparing these latest study findings with those from 20 years ago researchers found that typical portions of orange juice were more than 40 percent larger in the present day study than they were 20 years ago, translating to an 50 additional calories per serving. Students in the present study served themselves nearly 20 percent more cornflakes and poured almost 30 percent more milk on their cereal than participants from the past study.

These findings come at a time when 59 percent of the Canadian adult population is overweight or obese, a number that has been steadily climbing over the past 25 years.

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