Typical portions often contain multiple “servings”
Portion sizes of convenience and fast foods steadily have increased in the United States over the past thirty years (Nielsen and Popkin, 2003). In many cases, the portions served and eaten actually contain several “serving sizes,” as defined by Food Pyramid or even the Nutrition Facts labels on foods. For example, a large baked potato corresponds to three servings of carbohydrates. A large bagel delivers the equivalent of four bread servings.
Sometimes, the serving sizes listed on “Nutrition Facts” labels of food packages are different than the serving sizes listed by other guides, such as the USDA Food Pyramid. This differences arise because information on the Food Pyramid is designed to help people meet daily nutrient recommendations by providing relatively few, easy-to-remember serving sizes for each of the food groups. Nutrition Facts labels, on the other hand, provide detailed nutritional information that enables consumers to compare similar foods and make selections based on nutritional content. Ideally, the two sources of information should be used together to make appropriate food choices.
Nielsen, S. J. & Popkin, B. M. (2003). Patterns and Trends in Food Portion Sizes, 1977-1998. JAMA, 289, 450-453. Retrieved 07-06-2004 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=12533124
Sinclair, K. B., Pereira, M. A., Garcia-Lago, E., Feldman, H. A., & Ludwig, D. S. (2004). Compensation for Energy Intake From Fast Food Among Overweight and Lean Adolescents. JAMA, 291, 2828-2833. Retrieved 07-06-2004 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=15199032
USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. (2000). Serving Sizes in the Food Guide Pyramid and on the Nutrition Facts Label: What’s Different and Why? Nutrition Insights 22 (December). Retrieved 07-06-2004 from http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/Fpyr/pyramid.html
- Moreno, N. P., Rahmati-Clayton, S., Cutler, P. H., Young, M. S., & Tharp, B. Z. (2006). The science of food and fitness. Houston, TX: Baylor College of Medicine.
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This work was supported by National Space Biomedical Research Institute through NASA cooperative agreement NCC 9-58.