“Portion Distortion”

Does offering smaller portions in restaurants help people to eat less?

Well, there is a recent study which suggests that this could be the case, indeed.

It turns out that people are willing to downsize but you have to ask them to do it.

When offered a smaller portion and being told that they would be cutting out 200 calories by doing so, a third of diners out of several hundred in the survey took the smaller portion.

Calorie labeling isn’t enough. And portion size needs to be determined before the order is filled to be effective.

It’s a part of our automated response mechanism.

Still, Schwartz says many people think restaurant portions are too big. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest dietary guidelines recommend smaller portions of grains like rice and noodles than what was served at the Chinese restaurant in the study. For example, the USDA recommends that a man (like me) between 19 and 30 years old eat no more than 8 ounces of grains a day. The full serving size of rice or noodles at the Chinese food restaurant was 10 ounces — and that’s just the side for lunch.

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