The average restaurant meal in the US is now four times larger than it was in the 1950s. Treehugger describes one such meal at a Texas venue that consists of a 72-ounce steak, a shrimp cocktail, baked potato, salad, roll and butter: This will provide you with 5,760 calories and 480 grams of fat, far more than an adult needs in one day.
Over-sized portions are the norm at many eateries in the US:
A 64-oz “Double Big Gulp” soda puts 59 teaspoons of sugar and 800 calories into your system.
A number of popular entrees from Chinese restaurants contain about 1,000 calories each; plus, dishes like lemon chicken and sweet & sour pork are also loaded with sodium.
No wonder the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that over one-third of the US adult population is obese and about 17 percent of children and adolescents are overweight. A recent study predicts that nearly of US adults will be overweight by 2030.
To alert us to how portion sizes in US restaurants have gotten larger, the CDC has created this infographic which can also be seen at Making Health Easier:
As a result of the titanic meals now served in the US, adults in the US are now 26 pounds heavier.
There are many factors that have contributed to this supersized state of affairs. New York Times columnist Frank Bruni recently noted that, as a result of the past century’s developments in agriculture (mass production of corn, soybeans and wheat; feedlots teeming with livestock; factories making all manner of processed foodstuffs), we are surrounded by an abundance of food which we are eating just because it is there. A quote from Michael L. Power’s and Jay Schulkin’s The Evolution of Obesity succinctly sums up the dilemma of abundance and obesity confronting Americans:
“We evolved on the savannahs of Africa. We now live in Candyland.”
All this is not exactly encouraging. The CDC has some suggestions about how we can fight the “new (ab)normal” of mega-portions: splitting a too-large entrée with someone else; asking for a “to go” box at the start and “wrap[ing] up half your meal as soon as it’s brought to the table; being aware that you’re likely to keep reaching for one more from a large bulk “econo” package.
We can’t go back to living on the savannahs. Can we school ourselves to see the “new (ab)normal” — to realize how very much we’ve loaded onto our plates?
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