Update on Portion Distortion

Serving Sizes of Food Will Lead You Astray

Most peo­ple nowa­days know how to eat more health­ily.

If you were offered two plates of food – one con­tain­ing a burg­er and fries and the oth­er a healthy com­bi­na­tion of fresh, tasty veg­eta­bles, it would be easy to pick out the one that was health­i­er.

But if you’re at all like me, your actu­al food choic­es often fall short of your knowl­edge base.

Why is that?

One sim­ple expla­na­tion is that we’re self-indul­gent, and always opt for what feels bet­ter in the short run, nev­er the long run.

That’s true enough.  But the inner psy­chol­o­gy of the sit­u­a­tion is far more com­plex.

There’s a whole sci­ence devot­ed to under­stand­ing why peo­ple behave the way they do.  Mar­ket­ing com­pa­nies make exten­sive use of this research to dis­cov­er ever-more sub­tle ways to cue you into buy­ing their prod­ucts.

But you too can make use of this research to under­stand your own behav­ior and insti­tute ben­e­fi­cial changes in your lifestyle.

Start by check­ing out the Decem­ber, 2010 issue of the Jour­nal of Con­sumer Research, as report­ed in Sci­ence Dai­ly.

The research showed that label­ing a serv­ing size as small, medi­um or large made a dif­fer­ence in how much some­one ate.  When offered iden­ti­cal-sized serv­ings of a food, peo­ple rou­tine­ly ate more if the serv­ing was labeled small as com­pared to the amount they ate when the serv­ing was labeled large.

That’s why you have to have a clear idea your­self of what con­sti­tutes a nor­mal serv­ing size and the amount of food you need to sat­is­fy your appetite.

Oth­er­wise, you’ll be at the mer­cy of food mar­keters.


Deepen Your Body of Knowledge

More on por­tion dis­tor­tion

Don­na Fish’s arti­cle on how you can pre­vent eat­ing dis­or­ders

My eat­ing was out of con­trol!”

The Sup­pers Pro­gram — sup­port sys­tem for healthy eat­ing


About Aaron Bynen

Aaron is a health conscious individual living in the Pacific Northwest.

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