February 14, 2007

Portion distortion: "You CAN'T have it your way"

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that Americans' total daily caloric intakes are 148 calories higher than they were in 1980. This amount leads to a weight gain of 15 pounds every year. (See today's report from McClatchy Newspapers.)

Every year. And trend is going up.

Why? Portion distortion.

Saturday night, along with my family, I ate at the "Cookhouse", Connecticut's best BBQ. Well, you know BBQ not going to be portion-friendly, but I believe you can eat anything, just in the right portions. But restaurants continue to fight you.

My wife wanted pulled pork without the bread and without the french fries. She wanted a salad with the pulled pork. Sorry, the waiter said. Wait a minute, he didn't even say sorry. He simply said, " 'they' can't substitute salad for fries, and the pulled pork comes on a bun." It's $2.99 extra for the salad (iceberg lettuce with a little carrot and one slice of tomato). My 7-year-old son figured his options were grilled cheese sandwich and chicken fingers, and he went with the chicken.

I chose the mahi mahi and collard greens as a side.

We ate appropriate portions, but we were not served appropriate portions!

Let's see how much food was wasted, even though we tried to order "our way".

A bread basket of 3 cornbread muffins and 3 biscuits. My son ate two muffins and my wife and I shared one. My wife left the bun and most of the supersized french fries. And my son ate at most five french fries and left the rest of the 1/2 pound of potatoes.

Contrary to reports, people do not have portion distortion. Restaurants do.

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