Southern Illinois University Carbondale

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Serving Size Blown Out of Proportion

Proper serving sizes have become extremely misconstrued in the United States. Many people have no idea what proper portions of food are or what they look like. This is a leading contributor to weight gain in our country and the rest of the world. One might ask how this has happened and how it has in such a short amount of time.

Consumers have come to expect larger portions, which leads to excess calories eaten. It’s as simple as that. This expectation has grown largely from businesses selling products in bulk and larger portions in order to make the food seem more affordable. When consumers are given the choice between appropriate serving sizes of products or bulk, it’s natural to choose the larger amount because we believe we are saving money. Who doesn’t want more when given the choice anyway right?

In reality all of that “saved money” is being reflected in the size of our waists. Most of us do not have a need for these large quantities of food but we still eat it because we spent money on it. If we got in the habit of buying for our dietary needs instead of for “great deals”, we could save some money in the long run and shed a few pounds at the same time.

Here is an example of how much food products have changed in size over the years. Keep in mind, serving sizes have remained unchanged, but who is going to eat half a bagel and leave the rest.

This trend is being reflected in the weight of our country.

Things to ponder:

  1. If you use smaller plates and eating dishes, studies show that you tend to eat less but still feel satisfied.
  2. Nutrient dense over calorie dense is the way to go! Calorie dense foods contain a lot of calories without many vitamins and minerals. Nutrient dense foods are just the opposite, meaning they have a large amount of vitamins and minerals for the amount of calories it provides.
  3. Be aware of what you are eating and make sure to check labels for serving sizes!
  4. Take time to enjoy your food by eating away from the TV and in the company of friends or family.

Be the best version of you

Your University Housing Nutrition Team,
University Residence Hall Dining

Michele Stoeppelman
Dietetics Graduate Assistant

Stephanie Nehrt
Undergraduate Nutrition Intern