Solution to obesity problems is smaller servings

Shannon Cunnien

Within the last couple decades both portion sizes and plate sizes in restaurants have grown dramatically, and the American people have grown proportionally.

It has become clear that obesity has become a disease drastically affecting all of America. Since the trend started to attract attention, people have been thinking of simple solutions — work out, eat healthier, weight loss surgery, be active — but one option is rarely thought of; restaurants should start serving properly-sized portions.

In a study published in the August 2007 issue of Obesity, a research journal, chefs of numerous restaurants were surveyed about what goes into their decisions about portion sizes and the food they serve diners.

The chefs were asked to approximate a typical portion size of one of the meals they serve, and half the chefs suggested portions that were six times larger than USDA standard serving sizes.

Not many people realize how much six times larger truly is. According to an Allina online chart, one serving of meat (3 ounces) is about the size of a deck of playing cards. Now imagine eating six deck-sized meat chunks in one meal — there’s no way anyone could call that healthy.

If restaurants suddenly and drastically cut their portion sizes by even 25 percent the consumers of their products would understandably go into an uproar.

The correct way to address the issue would be to slowly change the size of the portions over an extended period of time. Most people don’t pay close enough attention to their food to notice a 10 percent change in the portion size — they may only notice the slight, but relative, price drop of the meals.

Arguably these slight price drops could negatively effect the restaurants in this economy. But, the price drops would only be proportional to the lowering amount of food that is being bought by the restaurant; it should not be so great as to affect other expenses the restaurant has.