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Portion Sizes

Fitastic August 26, 2013


Although the causes of obesity are complex and multi factorial.  It is speculated that one reason obesity rates are rising around the world is a combination of increased energy intake (calories) due to expanding food portion sizes and reduction in overall daily physical activity. This article will help you better understand how portion sizes have increased over the past 20 years and how much physical activity you would need to do to expand the excess energy resulting from these larger portion sizes.


 A bagel 20 years ago had a diameter of approximately 3 inches and contained 140 calories. A bagel in today’s society is about 6 inches in diameter and contained 350 cal. Similarly a cup of coffee 20 years ago was 8 fluid ounces and was typically served with a small amount of whole milk and sugar. It contained about 45 cal. Standard coffee mocha commonly consumed today is 16 fluid ounces and contains approximately 350 cal. This excess energy comes from addition of sugar, milk and flavored syrup.
How much physical activity would you need to do to burn this excess energy?

Lets skip the math and get to the point. Total excess energy for these two larger portion equals approximately 415 cal. How long do you need to walk each day to expend 415 cal?

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For a typical 200lb person. They would need to walk approximately 104 minutes or about an 1hr and 45minutes to expend the excess energy consumed by eating the larger coffee and bagel. Remember this is only the excess energy, if she wants to burn it all she would have to walk even longer. For other ways to burn the calories see the chart to your right.

The fact is many people read food labels to determine the energy (calories) value of foods. It is less common to pay close attention to the actual serving size that corresponds to the caloric value.

Next time you think about eating something unhealthy go to http://feelfitastic.com/nutrition-search/ and see how long it will take you to burn those calories and ask your self is it worth it?


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