Most excess calories are consumed away from the home. That's why I created this blog. To alert Americans -- and especially parents -- of the dangers of eating away from your own kitchen table. That includes fast-food restaurants, office cafeterias, 5-star hotels and, even, hospitals. Every time you eat away from your house, you are in danger. In danger of "mindlessly" overeating because of the portions and cues you receive when dining.
Though restaurants often take the blame for portion distortion - the trend of serving up ever larger helpings - cookbook recipes have done some Supersizing of their own, a study published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine found.
"There's so much attention that's been given to away-from-home eating and so much attention that's been focused on restaurants and the packaged food industry, it makes me wonder whether it's actually deflecting attention from the one place where we can make the most immediate change," says Cornell University marketing professor Brian Wansink, who directed the study.
The study, which looked at how classic recipes have changed during the past 70 years, found a nearly 40 percent increase in calories per serving for nearly every recipe reviewed, about an extra 77 calories.
The study identified the trend in numerous cookbooks, but it focused on American kitchen icon "Joy of Cooking," first published during the '30s and regularly updated with new editions since then, most recently in 2006.
Of the 18 recipes published in all seven editions, 17 increased in calories per serving. That can be attributed partly to a jump in total calories per recipe (about 567 calories), but also to larger portion sizes.
Only the chili con carne recipe remained unchanged through the years. The chicken gumbo, however, went from making 14 servings at 228 calories each in the 1936 edition, to making 10 servings at 576 calories each in the 2006 version. Read more...