How do 'serving sizes' influence our weight? 

Did you know...In the United States, the increase in portion sizes, aka 'single serving sizes,' correlates with restaurant-industry growth.?  

The increase in single serving sizes AND restaurant-industry growth both directly correlate with the obesity epidemic!  

(Interestingly, women participating in the workforce and other factors have caused the explosive growth in the number of restaurants since 1980!) 

Even at home, the amount of food that you scoop onto your plate may be WAY more than an established average single serving size. 

So, what is an appropriate serving size?

Take a look at the chart below. The visual cue on the right correlates with the single serving sizes of common foods. For instance, a serving of broccoli (1 cup) roughly equals the same size as a baseball. 

Portion Sizes - Visual CuesPortion Sizes - Visual Cues

What has happened to 
Portion Sizes?

From a commercial standpoint:  we can blame perceived VALUE.  When Americans spend their hard-earned money for a restaurant meal, they expect a lot of food for their money! 

The restaurant industry has responded. 

Even when we eat at home, eating larger servings has become a normal part of our eating behavior.  

And, because of it...

On average, people are gaining 1-2 pounds per year.  Think about that in terms of 10 years!

The average American is 23 pounds heavier than his or her ideal body weight.

Women typically consume 22% more calories today than in 1971.

Americans are more at mealtime AND thoughout the day!  In fact, some studies blame junk food and snacks for the increase in calorie consumption.  

*     *     *  

Who is responsible for actually establishing a ‘single serving size?’

The Food and Drug Administration of the U.S. Government establishes 'recommended single serving sizes.'


An article published in The American Journal of Public Health cited an increase in serving size as a contributing factor to the obesity epidemic. Researchers concluded that public health efforts should focus on the need for people to consume smaller servings.

WebMD published an article entitled, Is Fat the New Normal?, reporting on serving sizes and their relationship to weight gain.  You can read the article at WebMD.  


 Here are some tips for portion control:

At Home:

It’s simpler at home.  Use the guide above to make it easy. 

In Restaurants, use these tips:

If portions are larger than you’d like,  

  • Share with a friend
  • Order only a side dish or appetizer
  • Ask the waiter to box-up ½ of your meal – before you start eating!

Fast Food:

Order smaller burgers, fries and drinks.  Remember Happy Meals?

*     *     *

Coincidentally, there's a proposed change in government that's also a response to society's growing appetite.     

According to the FDA, the amount of food consumed today has changed in recent decades since single serving sizes were established.  The FDA proposes revising a ‘single serving size’ to reflect a more realistic amount that people are actually eating.  You can read more about revising single serving sizes.   

Portion DistortionPortion Distortion

A Change in Single Serving Sizes Proposed by FDA...The FDA has proposed revising nutritional label information on food...

Posted by Robin George on Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The evidence supports that larger portions (serving sizes) contribute to the obesity epidemic. 

So now, the FDA is proposing increasing single serving sizes to reflect the way people actually eat .  

What's wrong with this picture?

Do you have an interesting story about your own weight loss or weight maintenance?  Share it in the space provided below. 

The Solution to Permanent Weight Loss

(the inspiration for this website)

by Robin D. George

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