Magazine article Nutrition Action Healthletter

One Size Doesn't Fit All

Magazine article Nutrition Action Healthletter

One Size Doesn't Fit All

Article excerpt

One out of three Americans is fat. As recently as 1980, it was "only" one out of four.

What happened? Just what you'd expect: We're moving less (thanks to cars, computers, television, an other changes). And we're eating more.

While there's no data to prove it, the food served at restaurants, shopping malls, movie theaters, and elsewhere probably deserves some of the blame for our growing appetites (and clothing sizes).

Food eaten away from home now accounts for a third of the food we eat. And the quantities served in many restaurants are out of control.

We took a look at the portions we were served in our analyses of Italian, sancwches, breakfasts, and other restaurant foods. Then we compared them to the "official" serving sizes listed on the "Nutrition Facts" labels on foods.

By law, the servings on labels are supposed to reflect what is "customarily consumed." In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had to rely on imprecise and outdated data when it set many of those serving sizes. Nevertheless, they are awfully close to the recommended serving sizes set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). So they are a good gauge of what we should be eating.

They also represent a serious case of wishful thinking. We found that restaurants often serve from two to three times more than food labels I,ist as a serving. And bigger servings mean bigger calorie, fat, saturated fat, and sodium numbers. They also mean bigger bellies and behinds.

The information for this article was compiled by Ingrid Vantuinen. …

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