Restaurant Portion Survey Distortion

According to the Spartanburg Herald Journal, my local paper, “Restaurant Portions [Are] Swelling Like Waistlines.”

Many restaurant chefs are serving Americans two to four times more food than is recommended by dietary guidelines, according to a new study authored by a Clemson University food scientist.

Most of the surveyed chefs think the extra-large portions they’re dishing out are actually regular-sized, said Marge Condrasky, assistant professor in the food science and human nutrition department at Clemson. Perceptions of what is “normal” are skewed, she added.

I don’t know about you folks, but almost every time that I go to a non-fast-food restaurant, I eat about half of my entrĂ©e and then take home the other half in a box to eat for lunch the next day.

Now, I would still say that these were normal-sized portions. I would be upset if I got half as much food as I was expecting. But that doesn’t mean that I’d be eating it all in one sitting.

In fact, that’s really the only way I can justify the high cost of the food in these restaurants. A $14 steak dinner isn’t as bad for your wallet if you split it over two meals.

The point is that this survey is being used to say “restaurants are helping to make America fat by serving too-large portions” when, in fact, it proves nothing of the sort.

2 thoughts on “Restaurant Portion Survey Distortion

  1. I guess it would depend on whether the general population did the same thing of splitting portions in half.

    I think french fry portions are way too big, and a “medium” drink at some places is the size of what a “giant” used to be. Plus there is the 700+ calorie shakes at Chick-Fil-A which I wish were 1/2 to 1/3 that size.

  2. Good point. Dessert portions do tend towards being huge. Personally, I think that the small Frosty at Wendy’s needs to be about the kid’s size.

    And that’s definitely true about French Fries. Those don’t reheat well, so you can’t split them over multiple meals, and they are pretty addictive. It’s hard to have just a few fries when they’re sitting there, waiting to be eaten.