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The challenge with portion sizes

Watch Simone talk about portion size, and how different serving sizes can often be misleading and can lead to overeating.
SIMONE GIBSON: So not only is it important what we eat, but how much we eat is equally paramount, especially with the rise of overweight and obesity across the world. I’m going to demonstrate some different serving sizes that can often be misleading, meaning that people eat or drink more than what they plan to. I’m going to start with alcohol because that’s an area that can be quite confusing for people. A standard drink of wine is actually 100 ml. And depending on the drink– the volume of a standard drink vary– this bottle of wine says that it contains 6.8 standard drinks. And it’s 11% alcohol volume. So I’m going to pour 100 ml.
OK, so that’s just a tiny bit more than 100 ml. And in this glass, that’s what it looks like. So that’s a standard drink. Then what it looks like in a bigger glass is only that much, and then in the restaurant-size glass we can see that it’s even maybe only about a quarter. So I wonder what a glass of that would be in ml, which is actually about 300 ml. So we’re looking at nearly half a bottle for a glass of wine. So please be careful when you’re drinking wine out of big glasses. And just remember, this goes for other drinks as well– soft drinks, juices.
We can always be misled according to the size of the glass or bottle that we’re being sold. So another way that people can overeat without meaning to is what size chocolate bar we buy. So first, this was a chocolate bar that came as a twin pack, but it was all together. And I think most people, once they start opening the packet, they’re going to finish the whole bar. Then there was a medium-sized one. And there’s a fun size one. So you can still have chocolate. But if you look at this fun size one, it’s actually about a quarter of the big one. And that’s going to make a difference.
If you’re only having this once a week as opposed to one of these ones every day, it’s going to make a big difference to your saturated fat intake, your sugar intake, and your overall calorie intake. So one serve of breads and cereals is half a cup of pasta. So I’m going to show you what that looks like. I’m going to squash it down. OK, so this is one serve, or one half a cup. And you can see what that looks like in the bowl.
Now putting it in a large bowl– it really looks like hardly anything. So I’ll do the same thing as what I did with the wine in the amount of pasta. So that’s 1 serve, or one half a cup 2 serves
3 serves. Whoops. And still, the bowl’s not quite full. So keeping in mind when you’re having a big bowl of pasta– although foods from the grains and cereals group we encouraged you to eat– the amount is also important. Serve sizes also apply to prepackaged things such as bread. You can see that all of these breads are different sizes, different thicknesses. So looking at these two slices of bread, which are both soy and linseed, you can see that they’re different sizes, and they’re different thicknesses. Also when you’re looking at them, this one seems to have more soy and linseed.
So it’s likely that because of the size, this one has fewer calories and probably has more goodness because of all the extra grains and seeds that are in it. This smaller one is actually the size that fits in a serve of grains and cereals. So I would encourage people to buy smaller loaves of bread if they’re trying to control their weight. Here’s a really great way to increase your portion size of something without really increasing the calorie content and adding a lot of vitamins and fibre to it. So he we have 125 g of meat and 125 g of meat. The difference is this patty has two serves of vegetables or grated zucchini and onion.
So this larger portion size is going to be a lot more satisfying once it reaches your stomach. But also it’s a lot more satisfying to know that you’re eating something substantial. When we look at something, it’s going to make us feel fuller if we think that it’s bigger. Today it’s really difficult for us to control our portion sizes. A lot of us eat out, get takeaway, and portion sizes seem to be growing. One thing that we do need to do is being aware of what a serving size is and how different things like packet size, plate, or bowl, or glass size can affect how much where actually consuming.

Watch Simone talk about portion size, and how different serving sizes can often be misleading and can lead to overeating.

Food labels are an important part of understanding portion sizes and what ingredients are included in foods. When looking to understand how foods can affect health and potentially be used in prevention and treatment of illness, understanding their content is important.

‘Serve’ and ‘portions’ may have different meanings in different countries

In Australia and US a serve is a standard size of a food, usually referred to in government guidelines, while a portion is the size of food you eat e.g. a portion of pasta may have three serves in it. While in the UK it seems that they use the term ‘portion’ as a measure of size of food.

Requirements for food labels may differ around the world

You may like to find out more about food labelling in Australia, USA and UK, or learn about some healthy cooking tips.

Your knowledge of portion size

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Food as Medicine

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