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Portion Sizes in Restaurants Quadruple Since 1950s

Mike Barrett
July 7th, 2012
Updated 11/02/2012 at 4:33 pm
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portion sizes 235x147 Portion Sizes in Restaurants Quadruple Since 1950s

It seems that while obesity rates have risen over the decades, so have portion sizes – not a particularly surprising connection. In fact, an incredibly alarming infographic helps to show that not only have meal sizes increased in size over the decades, but restaurant portion sizes have quadrupled since the 1950′s.

Portion Sizes Grow 4 Times Bigger Since 1950′s

Could this be the reason for the ballooning obesity epidemic? The infographic created by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that hamburgers and french fry meals have tripled in size over the decades, while a cup of fountain soda is a whopping 6 times larger today than it used to be. A 2.4oz portion of french fries has grown to 6.7oz; hamburgers from 3.9oz to 12oz; and soda from 7oz to 42oz.

What may be even worse is that accompanied by this massive increase in portion sizes is the heavy use of harmful and toxic ingredients. While the ingredients used in food used to be minimal, you can find a plethora of toxic substances in the majority of food today, including MSG, aspartame, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring, neotame, caramel coloring, and much more. McDonald’s chicken McNuggets, which would be expected to have nearly 0 ingredients, contains autolyzed yeast extract, dimethylpolysiloxane, sodium phosphate, to name a few ingredients. Even something as simple as ‘strawberry flavor‘ consists of nearly 50 different chemicals. These ingredients along with many more can be found throughout the mainstream food supply.

 cdc new abnormal infographic Portion Sizes in Restaurants Quadruple Since 1950s

Honing in on the specific increase in portion sizes along with the average increase in weight, there has been a:

  • 28 pound increase in average weight of a man since 1960s
  • 24.5 pound increase in average weight of a woman since the 1960s
  • 4.56 increase in size of restaurant portion compared to the 1950s
  • 1,233 percent increase in chocolate bar size since early 1900s
  • 223 percent increase in hamburger size since 1950s
  • 500 percent increase in fountain soda size since 1950s

Given the continuous downfall of the average American diet over the decades, it is no surprise to see obesity rates (and subsequently every other illness and disease) skyrocket in recent years. Unfortunately, Americans have some of the worst diets in the world, and everyone knows it! With portion sizes increasing, toxic ingredients making their way into the food supply, and Americans continuing to consume this food, it is estimated that 50% of the population will be obese by 2030, lurking around the 60% nation-wide obesity rates in 2010.

Are Americans consuming too many calories? Unfortunately, yes. What’s more, the massive increase isn’t only leading individuals to experience health problems, but work productivity suffers as well. Obese individuals take more sick days and are less productive than health-weight individuals, with the most obese people taking 5-9 more sick days a year. Not only are hospitals, buses, and airplanes making adjustments to accommodate for large individuals, but employers are also paying the price as well. In many cases this loss is in the form of thousands of 10′s of thousands of dollars each year. Actually, the cost of obesity in this regard is thought to be nearly $73.1 billion annually.

The good news is that with a little calorie management, exercise, and organic living, obesity rates can easily begin to spiral downward.

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About Mike Barrett:
2.thumbnail Portion Sizes in Restaurants Quadruple Since 1950s Google Plus Profile |Mike is the co-founder, editor, and researcher behind Natural Society. Studying the work of top natural health activists, and writing special reports for top 10 alternative health websites, Mike has written hundreds of articles and pages on how to obtain optimum wellness through natural health.

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  • Eliot W. Collins

    I do not eat in restaurants. I do not trust what goes on out of my sight. Watch Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. What happens there could happen anywhere.

    Many restaurants are too expensive for what you get, no matter how large the portion size.

    • Adam Evenson

      The best way to control one's body weight is with one's mentality. When I had fully realized this, I weighed 200#, within a six foot, large-boned frame. It was not a bad weight for me, but I decided I would begin losing weight and then stop losing when it felt just about right. Within 90 days I lost 25#, yet, I did not change my diet, which is vegetarian. I ate the same things and same amounts, but lost 25#.

      I had weighed 200 for about thirty years up to that point, and illustrated that I could control my body weight primarily with mentality. It's so easy that I am amazed there are so many obese people in the world. One can just banish the weight and it will melt off gradually enough that it hurts not, any fast enough that one will observe clothing getting larger rapidly enough to witness day by day.

  • just me you think that the portions coincide with the price rate increases through the years? Obviously not..or we would get troughs and not plates of food.

    This article…seems moot.

  • Italics Mine

    All you people that are pointing out the flaws in the story: stop it. STOP IT!

    You're just supposed to fret about how awful things are, and wish we had more government to solve the problem.

    Now stop analyzing everything and believe what you're told. Dammit.

  • David

    “1,233 percent increase in chocolate bar size since early 1900s”

    I call foul. This statement is ridiculous. One-serving bars are nearly always 3 to 4 ounces. Huge bars are available, but they are certainly not intended for single-serving use, just as a 2-liter bottle of Coke is not a single-serving bottle.

  • don

    Where do you buy a 12 ounce hamburger? I don't see hamburgers that are over 3 times larger than 50 years ago…and I was alive 50 years ago.

    Same for those chocolate bars. Which ones are you talking about?

  • bob klinck

    Technology has increased productive capacity, so servings have increased in size to absorb the surplus "food". We are literally drowning in "stuff", more and more the products of robotic production, which distributes minimal income to individuals. People are coerced into running on the production treadmill by being denied buying ability except on condition of having a "job", most of which are now redundant or irrelevant. Hopefully people will begin to discern the internal contradictions of this policy and demand an approach to income-distribution appropriate in a superproduction economy.

  • Quagmire

    "1,233 percent increase in chocolate bar size since early 1900s"

    Which bars are you talking about? Most on the shelves today are much smaller in size and cost much more than years ago!