Watching Portion Distortion
Listen to my podcast where I will discuss watching portion distortion in our everyday eating:
- How many of you have been on the “See food” diet? We eat what we see. Managing portion distortion is one of the toughest challenges for many of our clients.
- Research shows we underestimate what we eat by about 30%
- We have bigger deals, kitchens, stores, bottles, plates, packages and portions
- One research study analyzed the size of meals in the cookbook “The Joy of Cooking” in North America versus a comparable book in France. They found in general the recipes all had bigger portions in North America than in France EXCEPT veggies.
- We have bigger bottles (1910 pop serving 6oz or the size of a styrafoam coffee cup, now bottomless pop which few people realize two over the course of dinner is the size of a one litre bottle).
- We have bigger plates. Visit an antique shop and check out the size of the plates versus those in your kitchen or at a restaurant.
- We have bigger packages (50% more; 2 for 1; family size). When you are at the grocery store this week if there was a “buy one get the second free” sale on a bag of potato chips or chocolate chip cookies you may be enticed. If you bought both bags instead of just one, how many people think it would really last you twice as long? Manufacturers know you will be back in the store in the same duration of time if you bought one bag or two.
- While some individuals are able to buy large portions of indulgent foods, many of us do better buying smaller packages. Most of us eat packages not portions. As the chocoholic dietitian if I buy a small chocolate bar I eat it…if I buy a family size chocolate bar I eat it too.
- When we have more we eat more.
- Think of the classic example about buffets
- This even applies to color eg. Smarties are different colours yet they taste the same. Food marketers know that when you have more variety you will likely eat more otherwise it would be cheaper for them to buy only one color of dye.
- This phenomena is known as “sensory specific satiety” in research which can be described as the more variety we have for our senses, the more we likely will eat.
- 3 strategies to help manage portion distortion
- Use smaller plates, bowls, glasses
- Buy smaller packages and pre-portion
- Go for less variety of hard to manage foods