May 26, 2010

Healthy Portions = Healthy Weight

Portion size can make or break your diet, but the right size still eludes many.

Americans have become obese at alarming rates since the 1970s, as more than 66 percent of our population is now either overweight or obese. What's changed since then? Portion size, for starters. "Super-sized" options abound for virtually anything you eat or drink, making it too easy to consume more than you need.

These are just some examples of how portion sizes have grown over the past 20 years:

Two pizza slices
Then: 500 calories
Now: 850 calories

Coffee w/ milk and sugar
Then: 8 oz., 45 calories
Now: 16 oz., 330 calories

Movie popcorn
Then: 5 cups, 270 calories
Now: tub, 630 calories

Then: 3-in., 140 calories
Now: 5-6 in., 350 calories

Then: 333 calories
Now: 590 calories

Then: 8 oz., 97 calories
Now: 20 oz., 242 calories

Portion sizes have changed, but healthy eating hasn't. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says that a bowl of cereal should only be the size of your fist (likewise for a baked potato), a cup of salad should be no larger than the size of a baseball and a healthy serving of meat is 3 oz. (or about as large as a deck of cards). Once you learn the tricks to control your portions, you'll also be able to better control your dress or pants size., NHLBI