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Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Weight Control

 

Super Sizing of America: More Weight for Your Buck

Erin Bartels, Dietetic Student, University of Missouri & Candance Gabel, MS, RD, LD, Associate State Nutrition Specialist, University of Missouri

 

Updated by Ann Nothwehr, Dietetic Student, University of Missouri & Robin Gammon, RD, LD, Extension Associate, University of Missouri Extension

 

As Americans we have been brought up to believe in the "bigger is better" rule. Just look at what we purchase: oversized SUV's and 60-inch big screen TV's. Eight ounce steaks, jumbo cookies and ever larger hamburgers prove how we cling to this motto for even our food selections. We may be getting more for our buck and a bigger meal, but we are ending up suffering the consequences by having to carry around extra pounds.
 

Why is America expanding?

 
Not only do we like large things, Americans also find it hard to pass up a good bargain. A meal including a quarter-pounder with cheese, a large non-diet pop and large fries is a whopping 1400 calories and 55 grams of fat. This total is almost what most women need for a whole day, not a meal. Looking at food in this way helps explain where our added weight may be coming from. Choosing a meal of a hamburger, apple slices, and water means a more reasonable total of 300 calories and 14 grams of fat. Or you can even save more calories and fat grams by packing your own lunch that incorporates more nutritious vegetables and meat.
 

Have Americans always eaten like this?
 

Absolutely not! Just look back to the 1950's - even ethnic food that first came to the U.S. were offered in smaller portions.

 

1950 2006
6.5 (oz) coke.......................................... 20 (oz) coke
1.5 cups spaghetti.................................. 3 cups spaghetti
1.5 (oz) cookie....................................... 4 (oz) cookie
1.5 (oz) hamburger.................................. 8 (oz) hamburger
Ethnic foods first arrival 2006
5-inch quesadilla (from Mexico)................ 10 inch quesadilla
1.5 (oz) bagel (from Poland)..................... 5.5 (oz) bagel
2 cups chicken stir fry (from China).......... 4.5 cups chicken stir fry

 

 

You can see why obesity is increasing in the U.S.


What's the bottom line?


Ask for a nutrition facts sheet when at a fast food restaurant. Think about how hungry you are and then order. If you listen to your stomach and eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full, you will reduce your intake of unnecessary calories and be making a significant nutritional change.
 

For more information:
 

The Downside of Supersize
 

Are Fast food meals really that bad?

 

 

 

 

 

Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009

 

 


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