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to think that we've totally lost sight of "normal" portion sizes

(54 Posts)
HighwayDragon Tue 06-Jan-15 18:17:44

Everything we buy has to have the nutritional information on, who has actually looked at these? I have today and have had the shock of my life, the recommended amount of philli for example is 30g, I measured that out today, it's tiny. It got me thinking about the size of our plates and what we eat, have we become accustomed to eating too much food? How do we change? Could this be the reason we are so fat?

Theboodythatrocked Tue 06-Jan-15 18:20:20

I think it's a combination of fast food and processed food and lack of excersise.

Simple as,

HarrietSchulenberg Tue 06-Jan-15 18:23:26

Agree that we expect bigger portion sizes these days. Just look at the mountainous platefuls dished up in restaurants.
Went out for Sunday lunch the other week and got served enough meat for 4 people. You only need a piece the size of a pack of a pack of cards to give you the nutritional content you need, yet I had slabs of beef on my plate.

Idefix Tue 06-Jan-15 18:24:37

Dinner plates have been increasing in size since the 1960s making it easier to pile on more food. Think you are right that many of us have no idea what portion sizes should look like sad

Trunkisareshite Tue 06-Jan-15 18:25:04

I agree about portion sizes, when I've followed eating plans/ diets in the past and weighed out the portions I'm always shocked at how small a portion of pretty much anything is.

I am a greedy mare though so my opinion doesn't count for much.

ElphabaTheGreen Tue 06-Jan-15 18:26:43

Hm. I'd think portion sizes on packaging has more to do with the companies trying to market their product rather than adhering to 'traditional' portion sizes. If they said how many calories were in the amount they know people actually eat, it would be astronomical and people who check labels wouldn't buy it. I do check portion sizes for a laugh sometimes. Cereal is particularly outrageous - even the ones which really are relatively healthy with very few added extras or sugar only equate to '190 cals' if you eat about three tablespoons without milk. My supermarket birthday cake on Sunday looked like it had been done in an 18 or 20cm tin, yet the label said it served 20 (!!!) all so they could say 'one serving' was 192cals. Not even in the 1950s would they have eaten 1/20th of that cake and thought it was a reasonable portion.

But overall, YANBU. I do think we have completely lost track of what a normal portion size is.

LadySybilLikesSloeGin Tue 06-Jan-15 18:26:48

I posted on the Jamie Oliver thread about this.

The average dinner plate is 26.5cm, which is massive! People pile them high with food too. I used to live next to a lovely pub which served wonderful roasts but I'd order a children's meal as the adult one was too much. I don't think people take the time to work out what 1 portion is so they just fill up the plate.

DesperatelySeekingSanity Tue 06-Jan-15 18:27:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GrandTheftQuarto Tue 06-Jan-15 18:27:35

On the other hand, people used to eat enormous quantities of foods we don't tend to consider healthy to have in those quantities now. My grandma used to reckon for a loaf of bread and a couple of pints of milk per man per day when feeding her household (husband and three adult or nearly-adult sons) and fill them up with meat and potato pies with suet crust and extra potatoes.

I have the luxury of being able to get fewer of my calories from starchy staples and therefore probably have larger portions of some of the expensive things like meat.

HighwayDragon Tue 06-Jan-15 18:28:22

I've started weighing because I've reached 12.5st at 5ft3 I'm quite overweight but generally my diet isn't awful so maybe this is a big reason for it?

meerschweinchen Tue 06-Jan-15 18:28:53

Portion sizes have definitely got bigger on the whole.

With things like your philli example, I do wonder whether that's a way of just making it look healthier than it is. If food manufacturers have to say how much fat, salt and sugar things contain, it looks better if they do them for a really small portion size. I bet most people never weigh their food, so wouldn't realise.

Personally I think our snacking culture is partly to blame, as well as portion sizes. My grandparents eat whatever they want for their three meals a day, but would never dream of snacking. I think their generation just didn't.

ElphabaTheGreen Tue 06-Jan-15 18:29:21

Case in point - Weight Watchers' brand bread. It's only lower in calories per slice because they use a smaller tin.

GrandTheftQuarto Tue 06-Jan-15 18:31:00

If you squash up a slice of Nimble you can compress it down to about the size of a pea grin

confused79 Tue 06-Jan-15 18:31:16

Funny, I was just having this conversation with a friend. I know one lady who is always dieting, very large, and never has any success. Last diet she put a picture of her salad on Facebook, and it was huge! Imagine the salad bowl you pass round at the dinner table. It was that size and all hers. Couldn't help but think if that portion size applies to all foods then I think I know why you're big.

kissmyheathenass Tue 06-Jan-15 18:31:20

Seeing the way people pile their plates at buffet-style restaurants, YANBU. I follow Slimming World and things like cheese and bread are strictly measured - it makes me realise how much we can overeat.

HighwayDragon Tue 06-Jan-15 18:34:08

I did wonder if it was a marketing ploy, but in general we do eat a lot more than we used to. I know that when I serve up tea tonight it'll be a lot less than I'm used to.

Gawjushun Tue 06-Jan-15 18:34:53

I agree. If you do the proper portion control, weighing food etc it's quite shocking how small a serving size seems. Therefore it's easy to underestimate the calories, in say, a bowl of cereal. 30g of cornflakes always looked very measly, and hardly seemed to cover the bottom of the bowl!

grocklebox Tue 06-Jan-15 18:38:18

You don't need portion control for salad though....leaves and veg you can eat as much as you want. You don't get fat eating very large salads!

gobbynorthernbird Tue 06-Jan-15 18:38:47

kiss, I was recently at a Brazillian BBQ place, all you can eat. The manager actually came over the check we liked the food as we were literally the only people there who hadn't got a piled-up plate of sides and didn't have some of every kind of meat they bought round.

magoria Tue 06-Jan-15 18:39:18

I noticed this on a bar of chocolate recently.

It gave all the nutritional information for 100g and per portion.

Then in very small writing had something like portion size = 4 squares.

I thought 4 squares were a mouthful not a portion grin

StarsOfTrackAndField Tue 06-Jan-15 18:42:39

Grand I am guessing that your grandmother's husbands and sons were manual labourers who needed a high calorie diet to keep them going. But there always seems to be a time in the collective imagination when people 'ate better than they do nowdays.' Never really specified what this mythical period is.

There is also a tendency to conflate people in the past being thinner with having a better diet and being healthier. When it almost certainly isn't the case. On the whole, people didn't eat better, they just had less food to consume. What they did eat was often high in starch, high in fat and extremely calorific.

As a child and younger man, my grandfather was thin, not because he ate a healthy balanced diet, it was because there was insufficient food to go round and he ate inadequate amounts of bread and dripping, cheap fatty cuts of meat and chips.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Tue 06-Jan-15 18:43:32

I'm like you; reasonable diet but portion sizes just too big. I'm trying to cut down too sad

Lima1 Tue 06-Jan-15 18:45:02

A few days ago I came across an old dinner plate from when I was a child and I thought it looked quite small. I have just measured it against one of my dinner plates and the old one, sitting on top of mine, is a good inch smaller all around.
I know plenty of people who feed young kids (4-8) a portion size that I would consider an adult one. I think it's so bad to get kids used to such large portions. I think our local chipper must think we are so tight as when on the rare occasion we get take away, we get 1 portion of chips and 2 chicken between us. We couldn't eat a bag of chips and chicken each.

I know I am guilty of dishing up big portions - I grew up with my mum being very controlling about portion size - we lived in a remote country area and my mum didn't drive - plus I grew up in the olden days, when shops shut at 5pm (or 1pm on Early Closing), and didn't open at all on Sundays, so she knew if she ran out, it wasn't easy to restock whatever it was. And she had grown up during the war, with rationing, so was very aware of waste, and so tended to buy just what was needed.

Once I left home and was working, I splurged on food, and gained weight, because I had never learned to control my own appetite - my relationship with food has been disordered ever since,, and I have a deep-down fear of being like my mum and appearing mean - and I know I have gone the other way.

I am trying to change this behaviour in myself, and trying to make sure I give people the amount they want. Plus I am practicing mindful eating, so that I ear slowly and with awareness, and stop eating when I have had enough, even if there is still a lot left in my plate - which is a hard habit to learn, as my mum was definitely an advocate of you having to clear your plate and not be wasteful - which was probably fine with the size of portions she served, but is not at all good with today's larger portions!

Sausages123 Tue 06-Jan-15 18:48:07

My portion sizes aed to be huge I hadn't realised quite how big they had gotten until I had WL surgery then it took me over a year to equate my new portion size to be normal as it is tiny in comparrison. Kids meals are also a ridiculous size

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