Portion Distortion: How does portion size affect your diet?
American culture and society is ever-changing, and so is the way food is portrayed, portioned, and put on the table. One of the barriers to healthy eating is the misrepresentation of how foods are portioned and served in the American culture today. A dramatic increase in portion size has been seen over the past decades; restaurant portion size, everyday meals, and snacks found in grocery stores, restaurants, and the home environment have increased 2-5 fold since the 1970s, causing the American consumer to have a biased opinion of appropriate serving sizes. This increase in portion size has influenced the way we eat today, and is a contributing factor for many individuals’ unhealthy relationship with food.
Our learned behaviors and environmental influences have disturbed many individuals’ ability to have a healthy relationship with food and achieve optimal nutrition and well-being. Healthy eating and a positive relationship and behaviors with food can be restored. Dietitians are skilled in treating, teaching, and educating individuals on how to break old, negative eating cycles and tap into their own personal hunger cues, which will allow the individual to better assess what a true portion size is for them. Through coaching and nutritional education one can learn to embrace the benefits of food and once again allow food and nutrition to play a positive role in everyday life.
Written by Lisa Carroll, MS, RD, LDN