Portion distortion

I spotted this story on the BBC News website and thought you should see it.

Last Supper “has got super-sized”

Food portions depicted in paintings of the Last Supper have grown bigger and bigger in line with our own super-sizing of meals, say obesity experts.


Here is my take on it….

Get portion Savvy!

Portions versus servings

 A portion can be thought of as the amount of a specific food you choose to eat. Portions can be bigger, or smaller, than the recommended food servings.

A serving is a unit or measure used to describe the amount of food recommended from each food group. It is the amount listed on the nutrition facts panel on packaged food or the amount of food recommended in the Food Guide Pyramid.

 An example

6-11 servings of whole grains are recommended daily.

A recommended serving of whole grains would be 1 slice of bread or 1/2 cup of rice or pasta.

People often confuse the recommendation to mean 6 to 11 portions with no regard to size. It is not 6 to 11 portions where one portion could mean a large bowl of pasta rather than ½ cup.

Keep an eye on portion size to see how your portions compare with the recommended servings. It only takes a few hundred extra calories eaten here and there over a typical day to gradually trigger weight gain.

Very often, these extra calories come from us unknowingly eating larger portions of everyday foods. The portion size that you are used to eating may be equal to two or three standard servings

Portion distortion

Portions have become distorted over the last few decades and in addition many of us find it hard to know how much we should be eating of everyday foods

In general the daily dietary recommendations are: 

  • 3 to 5 servings of vegetables
  • 2 to 4 servings of fruits
  • 2 to 3 servings of milk, yoghurt & cheese
  • 6 to 11 servings of bread, cereal, rice, & pasta
  • 2 to 3 servings of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs & nuts
  • Use fats, oils & sweets sparingly

 A serving looks like this

 Learning to recognize standard-serving sizes can help you judge how much you are eating.

When cooking for yourself, use measuring cups and spoons to measure your usual food portions and compare them to standard serving sizes from Nutrition Facts of packaged food products for a week or so.

Put the suggested serving size that appears on the label on your plate before you start eating. This will help you see what one standard serving of a food looks like compared to how much you normally eat.

It goes without saying that “portion distortion” also works the other way round. People who are recovering from an eating disorder may have lost sight of what constitues a “normal” portion.

Later this week, I’ll try and give some examples of portion guides son watch this space.



One response to “Portion distortion

  1. A few other facts will help you in your distortion adventures. Carol Nutrition

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