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Rose Reisman


Feeling Supersized? Blame Today's Mega-Portions

Posted: 08/22/2012 12:56 pm

When we look around us we see obesity growing at astronomical rates (no pun intended!). There is a fact that at 18 years of age if we were at an ideal body weight, we should only weigh 10 pounds more throughout the rest of our lives! I wonder how many of us are?

One of the reasons for almost 60 per cent of Canadians being overweight is due to the large portions of food we're getting at restaurants, fast food chains and the supermarkets. Adults are about 25 pounds heavier than they were in the 1950s! No wonder we have increased incidences of heart and stroke disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.


Since the 1950's these are the facts:

• The average drink size increased by 6 times, going from 7 ounces to 42 ounces with very little increase in price.
• Hamburgers and French fries are 3 times bigger
• The average restaurant meal is 4 times larger
• Consumers are reluctant to buy two of any item so the jumbo sizes sell well
• Restaurants offer mega portions for their pocket books only
• "Sharing" has become the translation by retailers for the mega portion servings. The truth is that people eat what's in front of them.
• Supermarkets encourage "multi buy promotions". This means selling larger portions for less money. You see this in expandable portion sizes. There was a 140% increase on these portion sizes in the last year. Everyone loves a bargain no matter if it's good for your health or not.
• Certain restaurants tried to reduce portion sizes and list nutritionals with respect to consumer and industry demands but found that they sold less. Even though consumers say they want this, the actual demand was not there.

So what's the answer, since we are a food addicted society?

• At a restaurant, order only the regular portion or order the mega size providing you make a promise to yourself that you will share it or take it home for another meal.
• Mega meals may be better financially but you'll pay down the road with respect to your health. Quantity doesn't equal quality.
• Skip the free refills on bread, dips and beverages. There are no "free rides."
• Don't eat snacks out of a bag. Either portion the snacks or buy the 100 calorie packs and limit your servings.


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  • Mega-Meals

    If you're going to eat out -- where portion sizes are HUGE -- only choose the mega-meal, or the supersize if you can promise you'll share it with someone, or will save half for later. Your body simply doesn't need all those calories and you'll only be hurting yourself if you finish a meal that big.

  • Freebies

    Skip out on the "free" bread refills, the "free" dipping sauces and the "buy one get one free" attitude of bad-for-you foods. There's no such thing as a free ride, and you'll only be paying for it later.

  • Portion Size is Key

    A giant burger, an enormous soda and a bottomless pit of fries? All traps for eating way too many calories, and consuming way too much sugar. Check out measurements of what you're eating and deal accordingly. Remember, quantity does not equal quality.


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