Is there an end in sight to portion size increases?

Yes and no, but mostly it would seem, no.

According to a 2007 paper published in the Journal of Public Health Policy, portion sizes offered by fast food chains are two to five times larger than when first introduced. When McDonald’s first started in 1955, its only hamburger weighed around 1.6 ounces; now, the largest hamburger patty weighs 8 ounces. Serving size increases in other fast foods can be seen in this graph.

Interestingly, since the movie Supersize Me, some portion sizes at McDonalds have actually decreased. This table shows some selected fast food items and the change in portion size from 1998-2006.

The mayor of New York Cityis planning to ban the sale of oversized soft drinks in restaurants in a bid to make people consume less. If his legislation is passed, restaurants will need to limit the size of soft drinks to 16oz (that’s two standard size soft drink cans by the way). Patrons can buy more than one serving of course, but will be forced to think about whether or not they want that second serve.


So…. we may be making some kind of headway in the right direction but we have a long way to go.



Portion Sizes and Obesity: Responses of Fast-Food Companies

Lisa R Young, Marion Nestle Journal of Public Health Policy28, 238-248 (5 July 2007) doi:10.1057/palgrave.jphp.3200127 Research

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