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Portions Have Grown This Much in 60 Years

Portions Have Grown This Much in 60 Years

If time travel were possible, I’d like to go back to a restaurant circa 1950 or even 1970. Then I’d take the patrons back to 2013, sit them in a modern era restaurant, and watch their reactions. It would make a great video. That was my thought process last week when my husband and I went out to dinner. My meal was served on two plates, each one containing more food than I could eat — or would want to eat — in one sitting.

Seriously, I grew up in a household with two adults and five children, and a spread like that would have fed us all. It’s almost impossible for me to walk out of a restaurant these days without a bag of leftovers that’ll last through at least two lunches. Sadly, monstrous portions are not unique to restaurants, although I’d become a fan of any restaurant that would offer me a half-size portion, which would, in realty, be a normal portion. Even at home, our dinner plates have gotten larger and our portion sizes have spiraled ridiculously out of control. It would be comical if we weren’t so unhealthy.

Over time, our perception of “normal” has shifted, and it’s not for the better. These infographics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) illustrate our (ab)normal eating habits.

CDC The New (Ab)normal

CDC Time to Scale Back

CDC Go Light

The question is, do we care enough about our health, and the health of our children, to change?

Related Reading
Muffin Top Madness
Rituals Make Food Taste Better
A Lesson for Restaurants: Good Health is Good Business
Processed Meat Linked to Early Death

Main post photo: iStock/Thinkstock

Read more: Children, Eating for Health, Entrees, Family, Food, General Health, Health, Health & Safety, Home, Life, Teens,

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Ann Pietrangelo

Ann Pietrangelo is the author of No More Secs! Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Multiple Sclerosis and Catch That Look: Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. She is a freelance writer and member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Follow on Twitter @AnnPietrangelo


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10:22AM PDT on Apr 16, 2014

People need to avoid consuming these huge portions it's so bad for our health.

3:15PM PDT on Apr 15, 2014

In Brazil, they also have ginormous portion size...or at least the part of Brazil I was in...the hotel did not have anything that I would call an average size portion that I could eat in one sitting. It is unfortunate that restaurants feel the need to over-feed the population, because clearly it is not a healthy habit.

5:53AM PST on Jan 3, 2014

The portions size may change, the amount people decide to eat is their responsibility. If everyone chose the single small portion, portions would soon decline!

9:37PM PST on Dec 25, 2013

I'm assuming your comments relate only to North America.

In my experience, restaurants serve much smaller sized meals.

11:53PM PST on Dec 22, 2013

This is scary!
Why,why,why do the companies want us all to be obese and die and early death.
Do don't care do they.

2:53PM PST on Dec 13, 2013


PLEASE click on the below link and if you are as passionate about this subject as I am, PLEASE pass it along. Everyone needs more than one (1) smile in their lives. Don and I CAN! :-))

9:15PM PST on Dec 11, 2013

AS a treat,my husband will bring home a burger from one of the chains. I get a Famous Star. I always drink plain water and still can't finish more than half. So the second half becomes supper. They can super size all they want but the size of my stomach never changes. And we always eat at least half a piece if fruit with the burger.

8:10AM PST on Dec 4, 2013

A picture is worth a thousand words! Hopefully your graphics will help to get the 'portion control' message across.

9:44PM PST on Nov 21, 2013

people say the serving sizes quoted on a package is way too small - but their view is distorted by todays oversized portions. A PIECE OF MEAT NO LARGER THAN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND - NOT A HALF CHICKEN or 14oz steak

4:04PM PST on Nov 19, 2013

Thanks for the article.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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