Portion sizes up 50 percent in the last 20 years

New research released by the British Heart Foundation reveals that portion sizes are "out of control" in the U.K., increasing 50 percent in the last 20 years.

The "Portion Distortion" report found that Brits are probably eating more than they think, especially when it comes to pre-packaged meals – a "supersize me" trend that is already a problem for most Americans.

Surprising findings

The report compared the portion sizes of 245 products sold today with portion sizes of the same products listed in 1993. Findings showed that a portion size for chips from a family pack has increased 50 percent, while individual shepherd's pie ready meals have nearly doubled in size, increasing by 98 percent. Portion sizes for peanuts are 80 percent larger, individual chicken curry meals are 53 percent bigger and meat lasagna meals are 39 percent larger than they were in 1993.

The research also revealed that a portion size of sweetmeal biscuits has increased in size by 17 percent, which means that a daily biscuit now, compared with 1993, would add 3,330 extra calories to an individual's diet each year.

"Portion sizes in the U.K. are often inconstant and misleading and we need to take control," said Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive at the British Heart Foundation. "It's important we get portion sizes on products right on because when people are presented with more food, they eat more food."

Read labels

The report also found that portion sizes still differ dramatically between brands. For example, eating one type of bagel over another could help you avoid a potential weight gain of 5.5 pounds over a year.

Better labeling standards are needed to help consumers understand what realistic portions actually are, the report stated.

"The U.K. Government has not updated its information on typical portion sizes for 20 years and there is currently no legislation relating to portion sizes," Gillespie said. "It's time for an urgent review so the portion size playing field is leveled and consumers can be helped to make healthier choices."

Source: Medical News Today

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