Saturday, March 26, 2011

Restaurant Portion Sizes: Too Much Fat and Not Enough Color

Written by Edith Nault
Part of the National Nutrition Month initiative

Can the government pass a law forbidding restaurants to serve large portions to overweight or obese people? Technically, I believe that the answer is yes. For instances, serving alcohol to an obviously pregnant woman at restaurants has been banned in some states.  How is this different from serving an obviously extremely obese man a 32 oz steak smothered with sautéed mushrooms and onions complemented with a loaded bake potato and several baskets of bread dripping in butter. Overconsumption of food can be as dangerous as overconsumption of alcohol in a pregnant woman.  Not allowing restaurants to serve obese people is an extreme view, but since larger portion sizes induces overconsumption, restaurant chains should be made to provide the option of smaller portions, or add more color to the plate such as vibrant vegetables or a selection of fresh fruit.  Also, restaurant entrées generally are lacking in the colorful vegetables, but  are high in carbohydrates and fats. The huge plate of steak, potatoes, and bread for example has very little color, mainly brown and white. When people are offered low prices on large amounts of food like Denny's Megabreakfast and Ruby Tuesday's Colossal burger, they get more than they can bite. I know that the number of people being overweight to obese has exploded compared to thirty years ago. Our genes haven’t changed over the past thirty years, so what has? What has changed is the environment and social norm that has evolved into restaurants serving larger portions sizes with very little healthy color. How much difference would the restaurant industry have on obesity if they were forced to use the correct portion sizes and follow ADA’s “Eat Right with Color,” theme?

Sooner Legends Inn & Suites (2008). Restaurant Food [Photograph]. Retrieved February 27, 2011, from:

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